Gardening with Laurie: Gardeners, make your to-do list
By Laurie Garretson
This week, I'm going to give you gardeners a gardeners to-do list. This being such a busy time of the year for so many of us, I thought a list might be in order.
First of all, for anyone who has a vegetable garden, keep your cool-season veggies happy by keeping them watered and fertilized. Using a hose-end sprayer is a good way to apply your favorite organic water-soluble fertilizer to plants every couple of weeks. Always water the garden well before a freeze or frost is predicted, but be sure to not over water. Soggy soil can cause many problems for plants.
Cool-season flowering annuals can provide your landscape with lots of color if kept healthy. Water them as needed, and fertilize at least once a month for vigorous blooming plants all fall and winter. Blooming requires energy, and nutrients in the form of fertilizer will provide that. And remember, your organic fertilizers won't burn and do not have to be watered after being applied.
If you want to add color to an otherwise drab spot in your landscape, try adding some annual bloomers to an empty container. Colored containers can be moved around if needed and will help to brighten any location.
This, of course, is the season for poinsettias. Poinsettias will be happiest if kept in a very bright location. Keep their soil moist, not soggy. When watering your poinsettia, always remove the plastic or foil sleeve that many of them come in.
Mulching under all your fruit trees for the winter will help to prevent weeds and prevent some types of future pest problems. Do not leave fallen fruit on the ground. If left there to rot, it could attract unwanted pests.
If there is a plant in your landscape that needs to be moved to another location, this is a good time to transplant it. Mulching all your flowerbeds and around trees will help to moderate the soil temperature, keep moisture in the soil and deter weed growth. Fallen tree leaves are plentiful at this time, and they make a great mulch. Don't hesitate to pile 3 to 5 inches of leaves where mulch is needed.
Citrus plants are very popular plants for area gardeners. Many types of citrus are ripening now, and many types are preparing for another bloom cycle. Keep your citrus watered as needed, and use some of your natural fertilizer to help the plants to stay healthy and producing. To help with freeze protection, decorate your citrus plants with tiny Christmas lights. The plants will look festive for the season, and the warmth from the lights will give the plants some cold protection. Depending on the severity of the cold weather, additional protection may be needed to protect the citrus from freezing.
When Christmas shopping, why bother with fighting all the crowds at the mall and box stores? Local garden centers will have great gift ideas for all those gardeners, or want-to-be gardeners on your lists.
Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.
Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.