Tofino gardening in November
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Okay you die hard gardeners, those that are pretty sure every task in the garden is done, here's a quick rundown, let's see how you faired.
Did you remember to empty out every basket of annuals and clean out the pots and store them away for the winter? Or how about raking up all those leaves that will harbor bugs and slugs? Yeah well, what about cleaning up the humming bird feeders and bird feeders? Get a rain barrel and attach it to the gutter? How about cleaning and sharpening your tools? Hmmmmm, lifted all your summer bulbs and tubers like gladiolus, dahlias and begonias and dusted the bulbs you pulled up for storage with sulphur. Limed the lawn and lilacs. Started your Amaryllis and narcissus for Christmas, or finished planting your spring bulb collection. Okay, okay how about planted your garlic, or cleaned out debris from the pond. Made lists of seeds you want to plant for next year. Sourced out where you are going to sneak some snippets of greenery for Christmas wreaths. Have you planted up a foliage display for the front door?
Okay so you got a pretty good go at winter gardening chores, so other than the odd clean up of leaves throughout the month, and just primping the front door a bit you've pretty much got it covered. There's really only the catching up on reading about things like organic fertilizers, vermiculture ( worm bin composting) and researching on how to effectively get rid of horsetail without nuking your garden. P.S . By the way the person who comes up with the end of horsetail cure for at least a year solid in garden will most assuredly make it in the garden manuals as well as probably be as wealthy as the guy who developed those silly little umbrellas that go into tropical fruity drinks. I you managed to get all that done, the one thing you forgot to do was stop and enjoy fall. Because winter is on its way.
Being prepared goes without saying to almost everything, but in the case of the garden, get started early, one thing we have noticed a lot of in the last 2-3 years is the quantity of snow we have had, and then the inevitable questions later on. My blah, blah shrub has gotten a broken branch from the snow this year, what can I do about it. Well, the first thing is support the branches, before the snow fall , if you have evergreens like cedar hedging, wrap the branches together with bungee cords or mesh netting, this will keep the tree from splaying open with the weight of the snow. Unfortunately if you have trees or shrubs, the best thing you can do is go outside during a snow storm and bang the snow off of the branches, be careful, too hard of a whack can break the branches too, especially if it's been freezing out. Also I've gone through many broom sticks, the plastic screw on type will break at the join. Or just giving the plant a gentle shake from the bottom can normally remove snow from branches, again don't be standing underneath the tree to do this, either use a long handled anything to create movement. Sometimes the damage can actually improve the tree, simply by giving it more of an interesting shape. Just prune of the broken piece ASAP at the break, and worry about shaping in the spring. Remember those shrubs that are going to be pruned in spring anyway, need not be bothered with as far as knocking off the snow. And if the mood strikes and there's enough of it, build a snow person, or make an angel, wake the kids and have an impromptu snow ball fight. Enjoy the stuff; it's never around long enough to get over wrought about here on the coast.
Smile another year of gardening is closer.
Tofino gardening tips for the November 2008 by Trina Mattson from the Ordinary Corner nursery in Tofino.