5 garden tips for this week, Nov. 11-17
1. Fall colors: Take time to enjoy the astonishing reds, yellows, oranges and purples of autumn leaf colors in Liquidambars, Boston ivy, even grape vines. Take pictures to make a collage, or prepare and photograph an autumn-leaf screen saver for your computer. Or do it the old-fashioned way by pressing the prettiest leaves between layers of wax paper. Remember that? Wax paper folded in half over a wooden dowel at the fold, leaves inserted in between the top and bottom of the wax paper, towel, press it with a hot iron to seal the wax, then tie yarn or string to the dowel ends to hang it up.
2. Planting ahead: For garden color, from now until spring take time to plant annuals and hardy perennials. Ornamental cabbages, calendulas, candytuft, cyclamen, dianthus, forget-me-nots, larkspur, pansies, Iceland poppies, primroses, and snapdragons, stocks, and violas will sport their stuff quickly and continue through spring. Also put in bulbs, such as anemones, crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips. These won’t flower so quickly or as long, but you’ll be glad you planted them when they show up next spring.
3. One more harvest: In autumn, tomatoes often grow beautifully but stop producing. Here’s a way to get one more crop from them this season. First, stop watering the tomatoes and trim back the tops of the plants a few inches (not much). Then “root-prune” them by inserting a shovel its full length down one side of each plant near the trunk. This shock treatment will stimulate them to form more fruit. Water only if and when the plants wilt; and if frost comes before they ripen completely, harvest green tomatoes for cooking, or let them ripen on the counter inside.
4. Reduce water use: If you haven’t already done this, reduce automatic sprinkler settings for watering fruit […]