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Gardening with Laurie: Black Friday in the garden

By By Laurie Garretson
Nov. 22, 2012 at 5:22 a.m.

Laurie Garretson

Here we are at the start of the holidays and time for Black Friday. I have never actually participated in this event and don't have any plan to do so in the future. I don't think there is any amount of money I could possibly save that would persuade me to get up at three or four in the morning get dressed and go stand in a line outdoors in the cold until the store opened, and then fight to get the items of my choice. No way.

I have a better idea. After the big meal is eaten and the kitchen is sort of cleaned up and all the relatives are starting to get on each other's nerves, head out to your locally owned garden center for all the fresh air and tranquility your mind is hungry for. You probably won't have trouble finding a parking spot.

There probably won't be any long checkout lines to stand in. There will probably be end of the season sales on plants of different types. And what could be nicer than to take some time outdoors looking at colorful blooming fall annuals?

For those of you that don't care to venture out into the traffic and crowds, but you're ready to work off some of those Thanksgiving calories, here are some Black Friday garden chores.

Spray your vegetable garden with your Spinosad, Dipel Dust or Thuricide to help keep caterpillars from devouring your garden. For some reason this season, the worms and caterpillars are out in great numbers, and they can easily ruin a garden overnight. Don't let them sneak up on you, keep the plants sprayed or dusted to prevent any problems.

This is a wonderful time to get all those flowerbeds ready for winter by adding several inches of fresh mulch over them. Spreading mulch, compost or fertilizer is a great way to work off Thanksgiving calories.

Just because temperatures have cooled off, do not forget about watering your landscape. Lawns, flowerbeds and trees will still need an occasional watering unless we happen to receive an adequate amount of rain. Don't wait on this to happen. Newly planted shrubs, trees or grass will require some daily watering for the first couple of weeks, and then you can cut back to once or twice a week

If your lawn has not fared well in the past few years despite all your efforts to keep it lush and green, perhaps it's time to think about converting some or all of the grass areas to some type of ground cover. Shady areas, under large tree canopies, steep inclines and many other areas in the landscape can be hard spots to keep grass looking good. Ground covers will usually grow well in these spots.

Once established, ground covers will require very little watering and there will be much less maintenance. Eliminating some of your lawn areas will save you time and money. Smaller areas of grass can be useful in a landscape and will look much better than a large drought-stressed lawn. This Black Friday might be a good time to visit your garden center to check out all the alternatives to lawn grass.

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 laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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