So, your pants are a tad too tight. You leapfrogged over seconds and went right for thirds while bellying up to the dinner table. Hmmm, it may be time to consider stepping outside to burn a bunch of calories while gardening.
By Chris Cohan
So, your pants are a tad too tight. You leapfrogged over seconds and went right for thirds while bellying up to the dinner table. Hmmm, it may be time to consider stepping outside to burn a bunch of calories while gardening. It is time to get back into trim, or at least make enough room for the impending holiday season and all of its yummy treats.
Dustin Hoffman’s character in “The Graduate” was given a one-word piece of advice: Plastics. I have one for you: Bulbs.
Planting bulbs entails a wide variety of exercises. Sure, you could be cooped up in a climate-controlled gym begrudgingly shuffling from one exercise machine to another. Instead, why not get some fresh air and sunshine while engaging in disruptive exercise. Planting bulbs burns calories faster than a Humvee burns gas.
Bulbs are a must in any complete garden. Now is the time to plant them. A combination of spring-flowering bulbs can provide garden color for two months or more. The early spring blooming season starts with snowdrops, then daffodils of various bloom periods. Late-blooming and fragrant, the Tazetta daffodil has an orange cup and white petite petals. A budding horticulturist mentioned to me that it looks like a fried egg, sunny-side up. Yummy, how delicious, a field of fragrant swaying fried eggs — and cholesterol-free. The long season of daffodil blooms is followed by tulips, fragrant Dutch hyacinths, shade loving bluebells, and, at last, stately summer-blooming tiger lilies.
Dig a generous sized hole for the bulbs. Over dig and replace several inches of loose soil in the bottom, remove any rocks or debris, mix in bone meal, and gently place the bulbs down. Backfill with soil. Never pack the soil tightly. Water and finish with several inches of mulch.
Pest control is usually low on the priority list, but fall garden clean up can make a big difference in next year’s pest control. First rake and remove all garden debris — I bet there are still perennials to be cut down. Do it and remove the plant matter from garden. If you have any fertilizer left, use it all up now. Make extra sure that you remove all of the fallen and decomposing leaves from roses, hollyhocks, delphiniums, phlox, and bee balm, as they are more susceptible to reinfection. The effort you make now towards garden hygiene will pay rich dividends next spring.
Now is the time to build or add to your depleted compost pile. I sometimes pick up bags of leaves or grass clippings in the neighborhood and add to my pile. It seems so silly to throw away exactly what your garden and lawn most desires — fertility. Turning the pile is great exercise, and you are helping to reduce the need for more landfills.
While the season’s gardening is still fresh in your mind, make notes in a garden journal. If you have strawberries, radically rip out runners with abandon to ensure some semblance of order in the beds. If you wish to expand the berry patch, look for the hearty end of runner plants. Cut the runner, excavate with a generous clump of soil, and replant. If you do not disturb the plant roots, you will get fruits next season.
Are you finally fed up with gardening? Then get your ladder and clean out the gutters. After you put the ladder back in the garage, the lawnmower is waiting for your attention. Empty the gasoline, change the oil, install a new spark plug, clean the entire mower, sharpen and oil the blade. And don’t forget to clean, sharpen, and tighten all hand tools before putting them away for the winter. While you are at it, bring the snow shovels and rock salt from the back of the garage and place front and center for ready use.
Oh, the joys of home ownership.