From Mélie’s Garden
October was a lovely month on Fishers Island this year in spite of the “Bomb Cyclone” that hit ten days ago. It certainly accelerated the beginning of fall on our property with winds shredding two newly bought chrysanthemums and blowing most of the leaves off our trees. After surveying the storm damage, I decided to start to put our garden to bed even if a bit early. The first killing frost on the Island is usually around the November full moon, but this year it is not until November 12th and I wanted to work outside before it got too cold. The following is my putting the garden to bed to-do list which also might be helpful to you. (Click any image for a larger version.
Houseplants need to be sprayed with Insecticidal Soap and brought in while the outside temperature is the same as inside.
Weed all flowerbeds – this is easier to do in the fall when they are not full of bulbs as they are in the spring. After weeding, we mulch our beds with chips from the Fishers Island Dump, which break down over the winter and enrich the soil.
Cut back all perennial plants and remove annuals and put the cut material in the compost bin along with any leaves and grass clippings.
Plant all new spring bulbs.
Clean up the vegetable garden and dispose of any diseased plant material – do not place it in the compost with healthy plant material. Protect winter vegetable crops in a cold frame.
Garden props like peony supports, tomato cages and ceramic pots should be removed and stored undercover.
Evergreens can be fed with a dose of Hollytone and in windy areas wrapped in burlap or sprayed with Wiltproof, if necessary.
Invasive Plants and Vines should be cut down to three inches. Mark the stem with orange surveyor tape. Once the vines are cut, go back to find the marked stem and give it another cut. Then quickly paint it with a small brush dipped in a combination of Windex and Roundup. This is a safe way to get rid of invasive plants according to expert Doug Tallamy. There is no spraying involved and the solution can be applied only to the plant you want to get rid of. Keep on the tape, so you can see in the spring if the method worked and always remember to wear rubber gloves if using any strong chemicals no matter how little the amount.
Once all these chores are done – relax and enjoy a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!