Garden Chores in January

  • kitchen garden 13 copy
  • January is a wonderful time to get comfortable in your favorite chair with a cup of herb tea, a stack of garden books, catalogs or laptop and a pad of paper to make some notes.  Use this time to evaluate your current garden and make plans for the New Year.
  • In the kitchen garden, continue harvesting lettuce, radish, swiss chard, arugula, broccoli raab, parsley, cilantro, kale and other cool season veggies and herbs that are growing in your cold frame or hoop house.  Cover empty raised beds with black plastic to start warming the soil for early spring planting.
  • Cut back liriope (with a line-trimmer) and ornamental grasses before new growth starts.  Try an electric hedge trimmer to save time.
  • Grow paper whites and pots of wheat grass indoors to exercise your green thumb.  Force blooms of Winter jasmine or Pussy willow (when buds plump) by placing cuttings in a vase of water to bring a little garden inside.
  • Winter is a good time to re-organize the garden shed or garage.  Clean up tools if you didn’t have time in the fall. Throw out or repair broken tools, water wands, hoses and sprayers.
  • Order or buy seeds, seed starting kits or trays and a seed starting medium mix to get a head start on the gardening season.
  • House plants keep you healthy by cleaning the air so don’t forget them as you daydream of spring.  Give your indoor plants some TLC with a gentle tepid shower to clean the leaves and avoid bug infestation, plenty of sunlight, fertilize when needed and preen away any dead or dying leaves.

November Garden Chores

November brings frosty nights but many warm, sunny, beautiful days which makes our friends and neighbors in the Upper South thankful for the opportunity to finish up garden tasks before the holiday season is upon us.

If your annual pots are made of terra cotta (or other material that may freeze and break) it is a good time to clean them out and put them away for winter.  Take out the soil and put it in the garden, compost, fill a hole in the yard that the dog dug, or save it in a large container or garbage bag for the spring.   Wash the pots out and dip them in a 9-1 bleach solution to kill any hitch-hiking critters or diseases.

While you are at it why not empty any concrete or pottery bird baths and tip them upside down before they freeze and crack.

Disinfect bird feeders and keep them full for our feathered friends.

There is still time to plant edible containers of kale, chard (try Bright lights) or other spicy greens that are pretty and tasty.

Collect seeds, put them in a paper envelope and label and date them; store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Dig mums that have finished their container life directly in the garden.

Take a soil test and apply lime if needed.

Remove leaves from the lawn, use a rake or a blower and put them in the compost or directly in the kitchen garden. I like to top off my raised beds with fall leaves, add water then cover the bed with plastic or landscape fabric to help generate heat to help the rotting process, keep weeds down and warm up the beds for early spring crops. Or, chop leaves up with a mulching mower to improve lawn.

Plant or transplant trees and shrubs

Don’t let up on weeds in the kitchen garden or perennial beds and borders.

Mulch (chopped up leaves work well) to protect plants and keep weeds down.

Use a cold frame or hoop type house in the kitchen garden to start and extend cool season vegetables and herbs.

January Garden Chores

  • January is a wonderful time to get comfortable in your favorite chair with a cup of herb tea, a stack of garden books, catalogs or laptop and a pad of paper to make some notes.  Use this time to evaluate your current garden and make plans for the New Year.
  • In the kitchen garden, continue harvesting lettuce, radish, swiss chard, arugula, broccoli raab, parsley, cilantro, kale and other cool season veggies and herbs that are growing under row covers or in your cold frame or hoop house.  Cover empty raised beds with black plastic to start warming the soil for early spring planting.
  • Cut back liriope (with a line-trimmer) and ornamental grasses before new growth starts.  Try an electric hedge trimmer to save time.
  • Grow paper whites and pots of wheat grass indoors to exercise your green thumb.  Force blooms of Winter jasmine or Pussy willow (when buds plump) by placing cuttings in a vase of water to bring a little garden inside.
  • Winter is a good time to re-organize the garden shed or garage.  Clean up tools if you didn’t have time in the fall. Throw out or repair broken tools, water wands, hoses and sprayers.
  • Order or buy seeds, seed starting kits or trays and a seed starting medium mix to get a head start on the gardening season.
  • House plants keep you healthy by cleaning the air so don’t forget them as you daydream of spring.  Give your indoor plants some TLC with a gentle tepid shower to clean the leaves and avoid bug infestation, plenty of sunlight, fertilize when needed and preen away any dead or dying leaves.

Garden Chores to do in November

November brings frosty nights but many warm, sunny, beautiful days which makes our friends and neighbors in the Upper South thankful for the opportunity to finish up garden tasks before the holiday season is upon us.

 If your annual pots are made of terra cotta (or other material that may freeze and break) it is a good time to clean them out and put them away for winter.  Take out the soil and put it in the garden, compost, fill a hole in the yard that the dog dug, or save it in a large container or garbage bag for the spring.   Wash the pots out and dip them in a 9-1 bleach solution to kill any hitch-hiking critters or diseases.

 While you are at it why not empty any concrete or pottery bird baths and tip them upside down before they freeze and crack.

 Disinfect bird feeders and keep them full for our feathered friends.

 There is still time to plant edible containers of kale, chard (try Bright lights) or other spicy greens that are pretty and tasty.

 Collect seeds, put them in a paper envelope and label and date them; store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

 Dig mums that have finished their container life directly in the garden.

 Take a soil test and apply lime if needed.

 Remove leaves from the lawn, use a rake or a blower and put them in the compost or directly in the kitchen garden. I like to top off my raised beds with fall leaves, add water then cover the bed with plastic or landscape fabric to help generate heat to help the rotting process, keep weeds down and warm up the beds for early spring crops. Or, chop leaves up with a mulching mower to improve lawn.

 Plant or transplant trees and shrubs

 Don’t let up on weeds in the kitchen garden or perennial beds and borders.

Mulch (chopped up leaves work well) to protect plants and keep weeds down.

 Use a cold frame or hoop type house in the kitchen garden to start and extend cool season vegetables and herbs.

September Garden Chores

  • September is a wonderful month in the upper south, gardens are still producing and fall plants are coming into their own with the rich colors of autumn.
  •  You still have time to plant beets, peas, turnips and other greens like kale, broccoli raab and Swiss chard In the kitchen garden  Mid month is a good time to plant a salad garden with leaf lettuce, arugula, radishes, spinach, etc.  Dust off the cold frames or build some to help extend the growing season.  If you don’t have a garden space sow seeds in containers by the kitchen door or on the patio for a fall salad garden.
  • Harvest herbs to dry, freeze or make a wreath.  Use culinary herbs for a kitchen wreath that you can use all winter to add flavor to your favorite dishes.  Sweet Annie (not edible) makes a lovely wreath; you can find this plant growing wild along roadsides and in pastures if you don’t have it in your herb garden.
  •  Pot up some chives to bring indoors to enjoy all winter.
  •  Pick ‘Endless summer’ hydrangeas that are starting to mature to dry for winter arrangements.  Hang them upside down or stand them in a vase without water.
  •  Start planting spring bulbs – buy an auger tool that attaches to the cordless drill to make the job easy.
  •  This is a great time to plant perennials, look for sales at the nurseries.  Divide up established perennials and share (or trade) with friends.
  •  Feed lawns the first of the month, de-thatch and aerate the soil if needed.  September is also a good month to plant new grass seed.  Get a soil test before renovating or beginning a new lawn.  Repair bare spots; scratch up ground with a rake before broadcasting seed to get good contact with the soil, straw and water any new seeding if you don’t get any showers from Mother Nature.

 

 

August Monthly Chores

These are some of the chores in my garden in Middle Tennessee, Zone 7.  Adjust these activities if needed for your neck of woods.

  • This month is often hot and dry here in the Upper South area so be sure that the garden gets an inch of water per week.  Soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems are nice but if you have overhead irrigation water early in the day for best results.
  • Don’t let up on the weeding, even if you are tired of that particular exercise.  Give weeds an inch and they will take more than a mile of your garden!
  • Edge beds and/or use round-up to control bermuda grass that is trying to creep in.  Freshen up mulch and add new to bare spots to help keep plants cool and weeds down.
  • It’s not too late to plant zinnias for colorful fall cut-flower arrangements.  Sow seed directly in beds in the first week or two of the month.
  • Stop trimming and cutting back woody herbs and perennials by the middle of the month.  This will give plants time to harden off before the first fall frost.
  • Continue dead heading annual and perennial flowers and herbs.  Leave some flower heads on to collect seed for next year.  To encourage volunteering of your favorite annuals and perennials, shake seed heads in the garden.  Birds like finches love to eat flower seeds in the garden so leave some for them. (They are especially fond of Echinacea)
  • Do cut back annuals like petunias and begonias that have become too big or leggy in the garden and in containers the first of the month to enjoy plenty of blooms for the early fall.
  • Continue harvesting basil leaves and freeze for best flavor retention.  Basil is lovely in flower arrangements, cut it in the evening to prevent wilting.  Sow cilantro now for fall and winter harvest.
  • Continue harvesting tomatoes, beans, okra, summer squash, cucumbers and peppers from the garden.  Tomatoes are easy to can or if you don’t have time, just wash them and put them whole in a plastic bag or container and toss them in the freezer.  Pull them out later and add them to soups and stews or cook them down to can (don’t worry the skin floats to the top when you cook them making it easy to skim off).
  • Slice okra and place in dehydrator for drying.  Takes up less space in the pantry and is a tasty snack right out of the jar or put a handful in soups and stews during the winter months.
  • Plant Vegetables now for a fall harvest.  Go to http://www.chestnut-sw.com/ for a complete list of what and when to plant based on your frost dates.