Oct. 5 - Oct. 11, 2011
Growing season over, time to put that garden to bed By Lucy Scholey There’s plenty of rain, less sunshine, and the garden is no longer growing. It’s fall, it’s colder and it’s time to say goodbye to those perennials, pick off the last of the tomatoes and pack it in. That garden is done for another season. Lorie Nesbitt, of McKenna Greenhouses in Rupert, has a few tips for the ripened greenthumbed when it comes to pruning and pulling out plants. Some plants can stay in later than others. For example, root vegetables like carrots can usually stay until their leaves start to die out. Green tomatoes can be plucked and brought indoors to ripen or you can cover the plants to extend their lives. But you want to start thinking about how you want your garden to look next year. “It’s a good rule to rotate it every year,” Nesbitt said. Toma-
to plants are more susceptible to disease and fungus when they’re planted in the same spot every year. As for shrubs, don’t prune more than one third of the plants. Shrubs are more like little trees, so they don’t need extensive pruning, Nesbitt said. Trimming just ensures a nice, rounded shape, without sparse branches.
Weeds should be thoroughly plucked, seeds included, to ensure they don’t germinate next season. Some perennial stems can be left for insulation purposes. “It’ll act as a natural collector for snow,” she said. “Snow is a better insulating blanket.” When your garden stops flowering, you know its time to
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Lorie Nesbitt demonstrates how to prune a plant before winter hits. She says to not cut more than one-third of the branches. Lucy Scholey photo
start packing the plants. “They just go through a natural process of slowing down,” Nesbitt said. Weeds should be thoroughly
plucked, seeds included, to ensure they don’t germinate next season. As for prepping your garden next year, you can start working
compost in now, especially if you’re planting in a fresh place next spring. But really, keeping a clean garden space is more important.