Hello Intrepid Gardeners,
Mother Nature has asserted herself again, with an early onset to winter this time. Our crews made a valiant attempt to finish all garden work before the November 15th snowstorm but did not completely succeed. Then we got back outside when the snow melted, making a mad dash to the finish line. But still we didn't finish everything on the list at all clients!
Some fall chores will have to wait until early spring, especially in higher elevations west of Rt. 495 where soils have frozen. In my own yard in Townsend, for instance, I managed to remove all leaves from the lawn but only a portion of the beds. Left in place, this leaf layer will provide good winter protection for the perennials and shrubs. Snow cover provides further insulation from the temperature variances that we are likely to experience this winter. I managed to cut down remaining perennials during a warm spell and plan to have a big spring leaf cleanup! Some areas are still under snow.
Your soil amending and compost topdressing to beds, if planned but not yet executed, can wait for earliest spring. Per NOFA Organic Land Care Standards, we cannot spread amendments on frozen soil due to risk of runoff.
Bulbs are another matter. They can be planted anytime before the ground freezes. If you were caught with unplanted bulbs, read more about how to force them outside in pots in this month's feature article.
Dormant pruning of trees and shrubs can be undertaken on dry days when temperatures are above 20 degrees and there is access to the plants, i.e. no ice coating or heavy layer of snow interfering with footing and set up of ladders. Chipping of brush can happen on a dry day.
Credits will be issued with our next invoices for uncompleted, prepaid Tick and Mosquito spraying that could not take place due to the snowstorm. Also a handful of clients did not have soil biology tests pulled in time; if prepaid, this cost will be credited. The soil is now too cold to measure microscopic but important soil life.