University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
STORING TOOLS AND OTHER
Charlie Nardozzi, Senior
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Cleaning and storing tools, cleaning
and storing pots, and cleaning bird feeders are some of the gardening
activities for this month.
Clean the soil off shovels, spades,
and trowels using a rag or wire brush, then wipe blades with an oiled
Make sure pruners are free from dirt and plant debris, and wipe down
with the oiled cloth. Now is a good time
to sharpen blades so they'll be ready for spring. Use sharpening
blocks or stones available at
complete garden and hardware stores.
Empty pots of dead plants and soil,
adding the debris to the compost pile unless the plants were diseased.
case, dispose of the plants in the garbage or a location far away from
garden. Rinse pots, scrubbing soil and salt residue from fertilizer off
brush. Soaking for a few minutes in a
mild bleach water solution (one part bleach to nine parts water), then
well with water, will help disinfect pots.
Clean bird feeders before winter bird feeding
begins. Old or moldy seeds in the bottom
of feeders can harbor diseases that may harm birds. Scrub with a brush
rinse thoroughly. Disinfect with a bleach solution as you do for pots.
Spread a thin topping of compost on the lawn after
you rake up leaves, and rake again to settle the compost. If some areas
growing well, it might help to core aerate before spreading
compost. If you do this in spring and fall, you can gradually
Spread winter mulch once the ground has frozen. If
you mulch too soon, it will keep the soil warmer longer, which can
dormancy in plants that you want to go dormant so they aren't caught by
when winter arrives.
The exception to late mulching is
bulb beds. After you plant bulbs, spread
mulch on top to help keep the soil warmer longer to allow for more root
this fall. Roots will continue to grow until the soil temperature drops
about 40 degrees F. If you have bulbs,
but haven't gotten around to planting yet, do so soon. It is
definitely better to plant now rather
than wait until spring. Or you can plant
in pots to keep cool, then force into early bloom in spring.
Continue watering evergreens, as
well as newly planted trees and shrubs, until the ground freezes.
continue to lose moisture through their foliage all winter, so keep
as long as possible to send them into winter with plenty of reserves.
Paperwhites are those narcissus
bulbs with fragrant white flowers often seen during the holidays.
You'll find their bulbs for sale now. Choose a container with no
fill it with gravel, and set the bulbs so the top third pokes above the
Add water until it's just
below the base of the bulbs because the bulbs will send down roots into
water. Or, plant the bulbs in a shallow container filled with potting
Place the container in a cool (50 to 60 degrees F.), bright room.
bloom four to six weeks from the planting date.
Other gardening activities for
this month include storing mowers properly for winter, and decorating
gourds, grape vines, corn stalks and similar seasonal plant materials.