It is time again for my annual reminder. I have found that the more I do in the fall, the better it is for most plants, and the easier it is in the spring. Also, I have found that the better I prepare my flower garden, my vegetable garden, my lawn, my trees and shrubs for winter, the healthier they are in the spring. Many diseases and insects over winter in the debris from dead leaves and flowers in your garden and so they need to be removed. These are some of the things you can do:

        Get out a notebook and write down what worked and what didnít this year. What flowers really bloomed for you and what were disasters? Write it down. I have a hard time remembering in the spring which tomatoes I planted where last year and which ones really did well. I also write down which row in the vegetable garden had what kind of plant. Every year I try to rotate and move things over one or two rows. You might also want to write down where you got the plant or seed that did very well so you can go back next year.  Make a note of any particular productive or unsatisfactory varieties of vegetables that you planted this year. Such information can be very useful when planning next years' garden. I drew a map of my garden and the 13 rows. Each year I write in what I planted where. It really helps as next spring I wonít remember but can turn to my record.

        Did you plant a new shrub or tree this year? Write down the kind of tree or shrub, the cultivar, where purchased, and where planted. Be sure and save that tag that came with the tree or shrub. I also have a drawing saved in my computer of my rose bed with the name of each rose. Without that map I canít seem to remember what the names are.

        Remove any diseased or insect infested plant material from your garden, as it may harbor over-wintering stages of disease or insect pests. If you leave this plant material in your garden, you are leaving diseases and insects which will begin to reproduce again next spring and add to next years' pest problem. Also, do not put these in your compost pile.

        Be sure to keep strawberry and raspberry beds weed free. Every weed you pull now will help make weeding much easier next spring.

        Reduce peony botrytis blight and hollyhock rust by removing and disposing of all old leaves and stems this fall. Do not put any diseased leaves and plant material in your compost. Removal will reduce the carryover of the diseases during the winter and you will have less trouble next year. Apply a copper fungicide (Bordeaux) to the peony bed after stems are cut and removed, and again in the spring when new shoots are about 1 to 2 inches high. Either liquid or dust is ok.

        Iris borers overwinter in the old leaves and stems left in the garden and blackspot can overwinter in the dead Rose leaves and foliage left in the bed. Do not put any diseased leaves and plant material in your compost where it can overwinter and cause problems next year.

Copyright 2015