THINGS TO DO IN THE GARDEN
Fertilize the lawn if you haven't done so already. Fall is the most important time of year to fertilize the lawn as this is when the grass is stocking piling sugars into its roots to survive the long cold winter. Fertilize with a proper fall fertilizer now, and your lawn will be the first to jump back in the spring.
Amaryllis bulbs - start your engines! Every year on our Facebook page we find the Mark's Choice Amaryllis Photo Competition is one of our most popular. Shameless plug: you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger, better quality bulb than the Mark's Choice Amaryllis. Vetting suppliers for this product was a thorough process, and we are proud of every bulb that hits Home Hardware's shelves.
Fruit trees - wrap it up - your fruit trees will benefit from a plastic spiral wrap on the trunk to protect them from hungry rodents this summer. Especially younger fruit trees can die easily of girdling if a mouse starts gnawing to get at those sugars under the thin bark.
Evergreens - also wrap it up - with two layers of burlap. One layer to protect against sunscald, and another to protect against wind. If you're a gambler you can try your chances with mature plants in protected locations, but if you're looking at younger evergreens - especially juniper and cedar - in windy, salty environments, it's not a bet we would advise you to take. Watch our new video.
Broadleaved evergreens - hit 'em with Wilt-pruf to prevent winter desiccation. Apply to your rhododendrons, holly and boxwood when temperatures are above freezing.
Garlic - plant it! If you haven't already. This is by far one of the most rewarding crops, the grocery store stuff just doesn't stack up. Check out our YouTube tutorial for How-To.
Dig yah dahlias. Sure, it seems like a lot of work - but it's worth it. Very few flowers put on such a spectacular show for such a long time, so resist the urge to just let them rot away in the soil. Dig up those tubers, let them dry in the sun for a couple of days, then pop them in a paper yard bag with shredded newspaper or peat moss in a cool, dry place. Put a reminder on your calendar for March to plant them up again for next year's performance.
Okay, now that we've given you more work by telling you to dig those dahlias, here's a freebie - leave your fall flowering ornamental grasses, coneflower, rudebeckia and all of the autumn flowering plants that produce a seed head. This provides habitat and forage for over-wintering birds, not to mention winter interest in the garden.
And another freebie - spare yourself the yard bags and rake your leaves right into the garden, or into your compost pile. There is a lot of nutrients there that can be taken up by the soil if you just let them decompose. If you want to accelerate the decomposition, you can hit them once with the mulching mower. Watch our new video.
MARK'S CHOICE PRODUCT OF THE MONTH
Birdseed storage bin
We feed the birds year-round in our yards. Many people wait until winter to fill their birdfeeders.
We really enjoy watching birds visit the yard throughout the winter. It's time stock up on birdseed.
We keep bags of birdseed in these storage bins to make sure mice are not a problem.
25" handle for easy lifting
Handle locks lid to prevent accidental spilling
Extra grip under base for easy tipping
Sturdy enough for birdseed, pet food, ice melt and more
Home Hardware item# 5453-005
Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author & broadcaster and holds the Order of Canada. His son Ben is a fourth-generation urban gardener and graduate of Guelph and Dalhousie University. You can sign up for their free monthly newsletter and find his weekly podcast & blog at www.markcullen.com.
An Organic Approach (5010-205), is available at Home Hardware.