Gardening in November

Garden Chores: Indoors and outside

By —— Bio and Archives--November 2, 2017

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Garden Chores: Indoors and outside
Time to give the lawn a close shave. Reduce mowing height to just a half-inch to prevent dead grass from ‘lodging’ or bending down and smothering fresh growth next spring. And if you haven’t done it for the past few years, it could be a good idea to aerate the lawn. Either rent a machine to do the job or plunge in a garden fork at 12-inch intervals.

Diversion No. 1

Joel Holland, the winner of the 44th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off, had the heaviest pumpkin recorded in the history of the San Francisco Bay Area competition—2,363 pounds (1,070 kg), announced The Orange County Register. That’s close to 1,200 pies, by the way.

Apply liquid fertilizer to indoor foliage plants for one last time before next March. Reduced light levels together with shorter days encourage these plants to become semi-dormant. New growth encouraged by later fertilization cannot adjust properly. However, plants already in bud or flower will benefit from continued applications. Spritzing barely increase humidity but removes dust from foliage, permitting greater photosynthesis. It also discourages that major pest of dry conditions, spider mite. Best to save repotting until next spring, when light levels and growing conditions in general improve.

Diversion No. 2

Researchers at Umeå University and Wageningen University have discovered how plants can defend themselves against aphids. They recorded aphid behaviour on video, and identified a plant protein the keeps aphids from feeding. The results have been published in the journal Cell.

Time to prune back HT, floribunda and grandiflora roses to about a foot high, then “earth up” to protect against winter kill. While temporary “collars’ to retain the soil or composted manure are available, they can be made at home by cutting the bottoms off 10-inch planter pots. Clear out any last weeds and cut back dead plants, adding them to the composter. A few handfuls of commercial composted cattle or sheep manure will add the microorganisms necessary to break them down. Large quantities of dead leaves are best composted separately in plastic garbage bags which have had a few holes punched in their sides, then stacked away in a back corner.

Diversion No. 3

While lavender has long been known for its strong scent and soothing oils, a University of British Columbia researcher is exploring the plant’s ability to create natural pesticides, according to the journal Plant Molecular Biology

Contrary to what has been proposed, DDT is not an abbreviation for ‘Dirty Donald Trump.’ Technically it is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, a hazard to human health, the environment and other unpleasant impactions.

Diversion No. 4

With all its hustle, bustle, concrete and congestion, they say New York City changes people. And that may be true, bur according to a new preprint study posted on bioRxiv, urban life is also changing the city’s mice—right down to their genes, suggests ScienceInsider. Like humans who consume high quantises of fat, the city mice also show signs of enlarged livers and genetic changes associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, result the researchers speculate may be from all the fast food in their diets.

The occasional pun appearing in these pages appears to have attracted some attention. As the brilliant musician and wit Oscar Levant once observed, “A pun is the lowest form of humour—when you didn’t think of it first.” A punny thing happened on the way to the garden—a clear case of hortic-â-porter . . . 23rd November is National Cashew Day. Bless you. And Roseanne Barr lives on 46-acre macadamia nut plantation on Hawaii’s Big Island; the actress, born 1952, celebrates her birthday 3rd November

Wes Porter -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Wes Porter is a horticultural consultant and writer based in Toronto. Wes has over 40 years of experience in both temperate and tropical horticulture from three continents.

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