Sunday, October 22, 2006


Yesterday we went to Littleton, NH so my husband could go to the camera shop. I on the other hand, went to the Book Store. After we finished satisfying our needs at each of those places, we decided we'd go to the movies. In order to get to Lincoln, where the movies were, we drove through Franconia Notch. It's a beautiful drive. Among other things it goes right by the "Old Man of the Mountain". Unfortunately, as you probably know, the Old Man fell off the mountain and the spot where his face used to be is now just a bare face of stone on the side of a precipitous cliff. How sad!
However, what was really interesting was that the snow plows had actually visited during the night. We had had a few inches of snow. Also, Cannon Mountain Ski area had snow on all the trails and it looked like January!
What does that have to do with Gardening? Nothing I guess, except that it pretty much marks the end of our "outside" time! There are still a few things that can be tended to, but it is just "tending" time, not "doing" time. Realize that your garden isn't gone, it's just resting, catching it's breath, taking a break before beginning up again in the spring.
What you can do is go around and just tidy up. Put debris into the compost heap. Remove all those hoops and poles that supported plants that are now decimated by the frost. Be sure that all your tools are inside AND clean! If the hose hasn't been removed and drained, do that too. It's important to drain it because if you don't, it will freeze and split. Clean off your lawn mower and other garden appliances. If they need some work, get them to the shop now. It's a quiet time for those folks right now. It's after gardening time, and before snowmobile time. Time to sharpen, oil, repair and just clean up tools of all kinds.
As far as this site is concerned, I'll continue to add to it, but a bit less regularly. I too will take time to do some "catching up". Read, write, take some courses and maybe give one. At any rate, keep visiting. Don't let's lose touch. If you think of any questions you'd always wondered about, shoot them in my direction and I'll try to help.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Do you know what Headwater Wetlands are?
I just read an article in the Natural New England magazine titled "New England Wetlands Well Worth Saving". It told how there are little areas all throughout our watersheds that, added up, provide storage for huge amounts of rain, runoff and snowmelt.
Often we think wetlands are only those areas right around streams and ponds, but according to Robert Varney (who wrote the article and is the New England Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) they are found in some very unlikely places. They are part of the reason that Planning and Zoning Boards want to be sure there are "recharge" areas around construction sites...especially parking areas that might have large amounts of asphalt involved. If asked, they probably won't know those facts exactly, but they are aware of the importance of that "recharge" process. If they are not aware, they should be!
What we need to know is that these little "hidden wetlands" are vitally important to our ecosystem services. They help control sudden flooding, by soaking up excess water. They then help keep our brooks and streams flowing during dry spells as they discharge their accumulated water.
His final paragraph is worth repeating here: "Why not take advantage of the free flood protection afforded by wetlands? Let's protect our remaining wetlands in New England so they may continue to protect us."
I don't have a link to this particular article in the magazine, but Mr. Varney took it from a larger article, titled, "Wetlands Can Help Reduce Flooding" which he had written. I suggest you visit that article and read it in Mr. Varney's words!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I just got my National Wildlife email Newsletter. It's always fun reading.
This time there was an article on autumn blooming flowers. They are critical for butterflies and birds, as well as little, tiny animals like mice. I thought this article was worth mentioning here. Among other things it talks about Ironweed which is a pretty, purple, blooming plant that is putting on a show in our fields and meadows at this time of year. Maybe it would be worth getting them into your garden next year so you'll have them ready for those little creatures that are looking for sustenance in the fall.
Here is a picture and description of the Ironweed plant which, by the way, is a member of the Aster family. Enjoy!

Friday, October 13, 2006


Sorry I've been gone so long. I've been nursing a very sore jaw. I didn't know if it was an ear, or a tooth infection. I finally narrowed it down to a tooth. So, now I've still got a sore jaw, but it's due to a root canal I had done yesterday. Anyway, back to the garden!
Have you gotten those new bulbs into the ground yet? I know you're interested in protecting them from the freeze that is surely coming our way, BUT...
Don't mulch those bulbs quite yet! If you mulch them (or your perennial bed, etc.) too early the mulch will keep the frost OUT of the soil, and the ground will heave and dislodge those bulbs and roots. So, be sure the ground is well frozen before the mulch goes on. By doing it in this order, the bulbs will be frozen into the soil (which is nature's plan incidently!) and will not be disturbed during the winter, by freezing and thawing.
If you already have mulch on your garden from earlier this year, that's fine, just leave it there. I'm talking about EXTRA mulch that you put on specifically for winter protection!

Friday, October 06, 2006


You CAN fertilize in the autumn. Often you will read that you shouldn't fertilize at this time of year, and generally that COULD be true.
What happens is that if you fertilize late in the summer (late August-early September) you could force a flush of green growth. This growth will be very "soft". If we get an early frost, it will be "nipped" and die, stressing the tree, or shrub. Or even grass for that matter!
However, if you wait until after the leaves begin to fall, you'll be close enough to the time of frost that the plant will NOT put out that flush of growth. Instead it will store that fertilizer right by it's roots, gobbling it up all winter and being ready to burst forth when the spring warmth and rains filter down into the ground.
As I told the gardener that questioned me on this issue, you really have to be keenly aware of your garden and it's micro-climate. You are the best judge of when any new growth has stopped and when it would be safe to fertilize. Use that judgement. If you goof, hey, the world won't come to an end. Next year you'll have a better idea. Remember it's almost impossible to kill off a garden in a year! :-)
As far as the grass is concerned, if you do a late fertilization, remember to rake the fallen leaves FIRST! If you don't, it will be a VERY patchy cover...and then when you rake up the leaves, the fertilizer will go with them. A huge waste of money AND fertilizer!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Originally uploaded by North Country Maturing Gardener.
Yesterday we went to Polly's Pancake parlor in Sugar Hill, NH for our breakfast. We often go to Polly's, but this time of year is a "must go". It is so beautiful.
This week appears to be about peak, as far as color is concerned. It was a bit foggy so the colors were muted, and the hills a bit shrouded with cloudy spots. However, that can be quite beautiful as well. So, we enjoyed the drive, the views AND the breakfast, which is ALWAYS excellent!
This photo was taken right in our yard. I love this time of year. No wonder!

Monday, October 02, 2006


As I write this, it's raining. We just don't consider the fact that this water raining down upon us is a precious as gold! We need it for ourselves and our gardens and farms. Here in the USA we're pretty blase about it. We take for granted that the water flowing out of our pipes is palatable AND potable, and we're usually right. However, other areas of the world are not so lucky.
I have quoted part of an article below. If you'd like to read the whole thing go to this link. The article is titled, "Water is the New Oil". That's probably right!

"...Agriculture accounts for more than 70% of water pollution in the United States. Pesticides used in agriculture pollute the freshwater supply buried within the soil. Industrial pollution also contributes to compromised water quality. At least 70,000 different chemicals are used regularly throughout the world, and there are between 200 and 400 toxic chemicals that contaminate the world's waterways. It is also estimated that at least 1,000 new chemicals are introduced every year! This industrial waste when coupled with agricultural runoff, further exacerbates the problem of freshwater pollution.

Wastewater treatment is big business today, processing millions of gallons of water while sending tons of the refuse taken from the water to landfills. However, in the third world, 90 to 95% of all domestic sewage and 75% of all industrial waste are discharged into surface waters without any treatment at all. Even in developed regions like Europe, over 90% of the rivers have nitrate levels that exceed established health thresholds, and one-half of the continent's lakes are low in oxygen..."

Sunday, October 01, 2006



You can still plant spring bulbs

If you have gladiolus, this is the time to dig the corms up.

This is a wonderful time to fertilize both lawn and garden

Plant cool and warm-season lawns

Move worm bins to basement or garage to maintain at least 40* through the winter months

Divide a clump of chives and bring indoors

If you haven't lifted your dahlias yet, this would be the time!

Bring any plants that are growing in containers inside for the

Reduce feeding houseplants(do not feed dormant houseplants)

Give your compost pile a final turning.

Try to keep the fallen leaves raked off the lawn. Put them in
the compost, shredding them first if possible, or mix them really well as they tend to compact.

You can plant garlic now for next years harvest.

Mark any perennials you want to separate so you can find them
next spring.

Clean and oil your tools so they won't rust over the winter.

Plant container and balled-and-burlapped trees, fruit trees, shrubs and vines

Other trees can also be planted now.

Keep watering the shrubs and evergreens.

Plant container roses and prune your hybrid tea roses. Start preparing your roses for winter.

Cut back your perennials and put the foliage in the compost as long is it's not diseased.

Sow seeds for frost-tolerant perennials

Try using evergreen boughs over your shrubs to provide winter
protection. They can be forced into the ground before the ground freezes, draping their branches over the shrubs.

Pull out your annuals and put them in the compost

It's time to store your hoses inside. Remember to drain them first
so they don't freeze and split!

Bring in any annual geraniums! Potted, in a sunny spot they will bloom all winter. Or hang them upside down (with the dirt removed) in a cool spot like the garage, or basement.

Get those bird feeders up!

Any questions about October?