University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
HARVESTING PUMPKINS AND OTHER
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension
Harvesting winter squash and
pumpkins, moving peonies, and shredding leaves are some of the
for this month.
can harvest winter squash and pumpkins any time they're mature -- that
the rinds are too tough to puncture with a thumbnail. Some gardeners
a light frost kills back the vines, to allow the squash as much time as
possible to mature. To harvest, use a knife to cut the stem an inch or
above the squash or pumpkin. If you
didn’t grow any pumpkins this year, visit a local grower or
stand. Use them for decorating, plain or
painted, carved, and for cooking pies and roasting seeds.
your peony isn't blooming, or it is too large or misplaced, consider
now. If it didn’t bloom, perhaps it is
just planted too deep, and removing some soil from around the plant is
is needed. Planting depth and location are
critical. Plant in full sun on well-drained soil. Place the buds, or
"eyes" on the roots just 2 inches below the soil surface. Any deeper,
and the plants may fail to bloom. Even with proper planting,
peonies may not bloom for a few years.
Fall leaves are both a blessing and a curse.
If a thick layer is left on the lawn, they can mat down and suffocate
underneath. However, by shredding them (with a shredder or by running
with a lawn mover) and leaving them on the lawn, they will feed the
grass. Many gardeners swear by shredded leaves as a
mulch in their gardens. Since shredded
leaves are difficult to
rake, you may want to invest in a chipper/shredder for garden
debris. This can be used to turn twigs into
compostable materials too.
fall weeding you do will reduce your weeding chores in the spring. Pull
before they set seed if they haven’t already, and you eliminate
the task of
pulling all those little seedlings. A single weed plant may set
even thousands, of seeds, so don't delay. Remove tough perennial weeds
dandelion and burdock by digging out their roots. Fall weeding is
rewarding as the weeds wont
grow back this season, as they do during the summer.
is a good time to test your soil's pH or acidity. This is crucial
to making nutrients available
to plants. By adding any necessary
amendments now, they'll have time to break down over the winter since
to be slow acting. Extension Service offices
do soil tests for a nominal fee, and the test results include
for improving the soil. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic soil with
a pH of
6.5 to 6.8 (a pH of 7 is neutral). New England soils tend to be acidic
require the addition of lime to "sweeten" the soil, or raise the pH.
soon as frost kills back the tops of tender, summer-flowering bulbs,
dahlias, gladiola, and tuberous begonias, it's time to dig the bulbs to
indoors over the winter. Gently brush the soil from the bulbs, allow
dry for day or two, then set them in dry peat moss or vermiculite and
them in a cool (40 to 50 degrees F), non-freezing, dark place.
Don’t hold dahlias too long before storing,
or they’ll begin to dry out and shrivel.
too, is the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips and
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach