Monday, September 21, 2009

Cleaning up around here

Programming Hell for OryCon 31 is done.  The work isn't done by a long shot, but there's enough schedule down that if OryCon happened tomorrow, things would be okay.

This time of year is clean up in the garden time.  We've had some rain, so the ground is relatively soft, but not so much that things are muddy.  The thing about fall clean up is that if we don't do it, the following spring is unmanageable.  We had some of that going on this year.  Not only is the grass impossibly high and weeds fill every bed, but the blackberries (enemy number one around here) build on themselves, making a tough problem even tougher.  And last, because it's not work, but does detract from quality of life, if I don't do adequate clean up, I won't be able to enjoy the hundreds of daffodils that come up in the spring.  

Winters in the Pac NW aren't terrifically long, but they're very gray, and except for that spot in February when we get nice weather off and on for a couple of weeks, the only color we might see before June are daffodils and forsythia.  Some people get crocuses and tulips, but not us.  Deer and bunnies love crocuses and tulips, and if they don't get them, the slugs will.

Speaking of slugs, if you garden and you're looking for some gardening tips for fall clean up, here's my list:

Lightly fertilize fruit trees
Last mowing
Last weeding
Plant new bulbs (not every year)
Rake leaves from under trees into flower beds, paths, and onto compost pile. *
Put down slug bait to reduce the overwintering population
Prune roses**
Remove weak or crossed branches on trees (very important in our high wind area)
Cut back blackberries as much as possible
Mulch if possible

Some people have quite extensive lists.  Google fall garden cleanup.  Mine is short because of the area I have to deal with, and because some of the finer tuning you can do to a garden is wasted on my wild landscape.  Happy gardening!

*Most people with well-sculpted gardens should not rake leaves into their flower beds.  This will help overwinter pests right where you least want them.  It's better to bag your leaves or compost them.  If composting, make sure the leaves aren't the last thing to go on the pile.  They'll just blow away.  No matter what you do, shred the leaves if possible.
**Around here it gets cold enough that it's a very bad idea to prune back roses as hard as the experts suggest.  Those extra branches help the plant shelter itself by collecting leaves and snow.  I prune down to no lower than 12", and leave a few small branches.  This helps my survival rate immensely.  Then, come the last of the really cold weather before first bud (or Valentine's Day, if I'm impatient) I'll finish pruning the roses, with main limbs cut down to the lowest strong bud at least 6" off the ground, and I remove most or all of the minor branches.


Kai Jones said...

My nana always said about pruning roses down here in the Willamette Valley, "Waist high on Thanksgiving, knee high on Presidents' Day."

selenew said...

Yay, Programming hell is over!