Gardener's Calendar

 

The Gardener's Calendar is a by-the-month calendar for gardening events in the Chicago are, zones 4 and 5.  For easy access just click on the monthly buttons below to go directly to the calendar of your choice.  This section is new with the first entry in May.  Every month a new entry will be added until a full year of gardening suggestions is available.

 

 

 

JANUARY GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • Order seed, bulb, and nursery catalog to get started on this year's garden.

  • Recycle Christmas tree branches by cutting them into 2-3 foot sections to use as mulch for garden and perennial beds.

  • During winter thaws, water garden beds, turf and plants that have received salt spray from roads.

  • Monitor plants for signs of damage from animals, ice, snow or wind.

  • If it snows avoid using salt-based de-icing products in or around garden areas.

  • Shovel snow before it freezes on sidewalks and sprinkle sand on sidewalks for traction.

  • When shoveling, try to distribute snow equally on garden plants instead of piling it all against foundation planting or in the root zone of only one tree.

  • Maintain a supply of water for the birds.

  • Clean and refill bird feeders.

 

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS

  • LIGHT pruning of deciduous trees and shrubs can be done this month.

  • Ice accumulation on tree branches should be left to melt.

  • Immediately prune back branches damaged by snow and ice.

 

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Houseplants require less water and much less or no fertilizer because of their slow growth at this time.

 

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist/january

FEBRUARY GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  •  Order seed, bulb, and nursery catalogs to assist in planning your garden for the upcoming year.

  •  Continue to check plants for signs of damage from weather or animals.

  •  Use potassium or calcium based de-icing products on walkways rather than sodium-based products. 

  •  Consider using sand on slippery surfaces.

  •  Repair and paint garden tools and lawn furniture for spring.

 

TREES AND SHRUBS

  • Mild weather might cause some buds on flowering shrubs to bloom prematurely.  These buds will not rebloom in spring.

  • Continue to cut branches for forcing indoors.

  • Heavy pruning of large woody shrubs can be done this month.

  • In unseasonably warm/dry winter plants will be stressed.  Water evergreens, conifers as needed.

  • If tree branches become covered with ice, just let the ice melt rather than risk breaking the branches.  Gently sweep snow with a soft broom from large evergreens.

 

 INDOOR GARDEN

  • Houseplants might show signs of stress caused by light deprivation, overwatering, inadequate humidity, and overheated indoor air.  Stressed plants also are more prone to develop insect and disease problems ... monitor.

  • Consider starting seeds indoors.

 

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/fmpt/downloads/72987.pdf

 

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist/february

MARCH GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • Continue to plant seeds indoors.

  • Resist working in wet soil, which will form clods and they are difficult to break up.

  • On dry days remove debris from lawn and garden beds.

  • Check stored bulbs for decay.

 

TREES AND SHRUBS

  • To reduce the spread of oak wilt, all oak pruning should be done in March.

  • Prune fruit trees in March before buds swell.

  • Prune spring flowering shrubs and trees immediately after they flower.

  •  

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS:

  • Prune roses when the forsythia begins to bloom.

  • Check for spring blooming bulbs.

  • Gently press back perennials that have heaved out of the ground over winter.

  • As days warm up gently pull back mulch from perennials crowns.

  • Cut back perennials that were left for winter interest.

  • When temps are consistently in the 50’s sow seeds for cool season.

 

 

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Replant houseplants that have flowered and are root bound.

  • Fertilize as they begin new growth.

 

 

 

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/fmpt/downloads/72987.pdf

 

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/march_general_garden_care

APRIL GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  •  Plant Cool Season annuals that can tolerate a light frost.

  • Add 2-4 inches of compost to garden beds.

  • Measure rainfall to assure 1 inch of water a week in garden.

 

TREES AND SHRUBS

  •  Plant trees and shrubs.  Last Friday in April is National Arbor Day.

  •  Wait one year to fertilize new woody plantings.

 

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS:

  • Plant perennials, hardy grasses and roses.

  • Divide mature summer and fall blooming perennials when they are 4-6 inches tall.  Do not divide day lilies (September), oriental poppies (July) or iris (late July) at this time.

  • Fertilize spring flowering bulbs with a 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 as new growth emerges.

  • Stay on top of weeds.

  • Begin uncovering roses.  Top-dress with 6-2-0 organic slow release fertilizer.

  • Later in the month begin to harden off warm season vegetables and flowers.

  • Plant strawberries.

 

LAWN CARE

  • Lawns can be treated with crab grass control in early to mid April before weeds germinate.

 

 INDOOR GARDEN

  • Continue to bring houseplants indoors until temps are consistently 50-60 degrees.

 

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/fmpt/downloads/72987.pdf

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist/april

MAY GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

General Garden Care

  • Plant warm-season flowering annuals, vines, herbs, and vegetables after the Chicago area’s average last frost date of May 15. Cautious gardeners often wait until Memorial Day before setting out cold-sensitive plants such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and squash. Pinch back one-third of new growth to encourage stocky habit (except vines). Be sure newly purchased annuals have been hardened off properly before planting them outside. Avoid fertilizing newly planted annuals for two weeks.

  • Continue to plant new perennials, ornamental grasses, and roses in containers. If plant roots are root-bound (encircling the pot), make four cuts into the bottom of the root ball with a sharp tool, and flare the sections outward when planting.

  • Provide a gentle water drip for migrating birds. The May migrants — warblers, tanagers, orioles and buntings — are all attracted to shallow pools and the slight pinging sound of dripping water.

 

Annual and Perennial Care

  • Stake tall perennials before they reach 6 inches. Begin to regularly pinch back fall-blooming perennials such as chrysanthemums, asters and tall sedums. Pinch once a week until the middle of July. This promotes stocky growth.

  • Continue to direct the growth of perennial vines on their supports. Climbing roses should be encouraged to develop lateral, flower-bearing canes.

  • Continue to check peonies for botrytis blight or other foliar fungal problems. Peonies that suffered from botrytis or bud blast last year should be sprayed regularly, starting when the plants are between 2 to 4 inches tall. Cage or provide support for peony blossoms when the plants are 10 inches tall.

  • Let spring bulb foliage yellow and wither before removing it. The leaves manufacture food that is stored in the bulb for next year’s growth. Even braiding the foliage of daffodils can reduce the food production of the leaves.

  • Spray emerging lily shoots with antirodent spray if rabbits and deer have been a problem. Be sure to reapply after rainfall.

  • Monitor all annual plantings in window boxes and containers. On warm, windy days, hanging baskets will require water every day. Always water the soil thoroughly before adding dilute quarter-strength fertilizer to containers. Terra cotta pots will dry out faster than plastic. Consider incorporating water-conserving granules into container soil.

  • Plant tender water lilies and lotus when the water temperature is over 65 degrees.

  • Plant summer- and fall-flowering bulbs such as Asiatic and Oriental lilies, dahlias, peacock orchids (Acidanthera), cannas, tuberous begonias, caladium, crocosmia, freesia, gladioli, montbretia, and calla lilies. 

 

Tree and Shrub Care

  • Trees and shrubs, including balled and burlapped evergreens, can still be planted this month. Plant on a cloudy day, early in the morning, to prevent heat and transplant shock. Water thoroughly and gently at planting time and continue for the first year with 1 inch of water a week, spread throughout the root zone. Mulch root zones to conserve moisture.

  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs and ornamental trees immediately after they bloom. These include forsythia, viburnum, lilac, small magnolias, rhododendrons, and azaleas. Prune to the ground old canes of forsythia and lilac. Alternative time to do renovation pruning is in late winter when plants are dormant. Deadhead (or lightly prune) spent lilac blossoms to increase flower production. Avoid fertilizer with excessive nitrogen; it can encourage foliage at the expense of flower production.

  • Lilac blossoms will last longer indoors if they are cut in the morning on a long woody stem when the flower is only half open. Cut a second time indoors before putting in a vase and make a vertical slit up the woody tissue.

  • Gently pull off dried flowers of azaleas and rhododendrons. New sticky shoots are located at the base of these flower trusses. Take care not to break these shoots when removing flowers. To increase flower production for the following year, pinch off one-half of this new green growth when it is at least one inch in length.

 

Rose Care

  • Fertilize roses with a liquid 20-20-20 solution when flower buds are set.

  • Monitor roses for insects and diseases. Check daily for black spot, especially in wet weather. Do not handle rosebushes if foliage is wet and infected. Wait until leaves have dried before removing them and spraying.

  • Monitor roses for rose slugs (small white caterpillars with black heads) and their damage (tissue like patches on the leaves).

  • Succulent new green growth is particularly susceptible to aphid attack. Monitor newly planted shrubs, small flowering trees, and juicy perennials for signs of aphids — curled, distorted tip growth. Spray a strong stream of water on damaged foliage to remove pests.

 

Lawn Care

  • Mow lawn at 2 to 2½ inches, removing one-third or less of the leaf blade. Leave grass clippings on the lawn to return nutrients to the soil, or add them to compost heap. Rake clippings slightly if they are heavy and wet. If you are applying grass seed, do not use a pre-emergent weed killer in the same area.

  • Fertilize lawn in mid-May if necessary. Late fall is a preferable time to fertilize. Monitor for weeds and hand pull or spot treat accordingly.

 

Fruit, Vegetable, and Herb Care

  • Plant corn, snap beans, summer squash, and New Zealand spinach in mid-May.

  • Thin carrots, beets, and late lettuce.

  • Harvest green onions, lettuce, and radishes. Any of the mesclun mix or cut-and-come-again lettuces can be harvested to a few inches three separate times before the plants have exhausted themselves.

  • Harvest mature asparagus and rhubarb.

  • Spread several inches of aged compost on vegetable and herb beds, if not done yet.

  • Remove flowers of June-bearing strawberries as soon as they appear. This is necessary just for the first growing season. The plants will now develop a stronger root system.

  • Remove flowers for everbearing and day-neutral strawberries as soon as they appear. Flowers that develop after July 1 can be left on the plants to set fruit for later in the season.

 

Indoor Plant Care

  • Begin to harden off warm-season transplants, moving them into a cold frame or protected area.

  • Gradually move houseplants outside to protected areas. Large houseplants in plastic pots should be slipped into larger heavier pots to prevent them from falling over in wind. Guard against overexposure to afternoon sun. Carefully monitor for insects during their time spent in the garden.

  • Overwintered tender annuals or tropicals (e.g., hibiscus, gardenia, geranium) may be pruned, fertilized, and taken outside once night temperatures reach 40 degrees.

  • Amaryllis bulbs (in their pots) can be moved to a protected spot in the garden where they receive morning sun. Fertilize twice a month with a dilute 15-30-15 mix.

 

 

Source:  Chicago Botanic Garden

JUNE GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

General Garden Care

  • Apply 1 to 2 inches of leaf mulch on flower beds and around trees, keeping mulch away from the trunks. Mulch conserves moisture, protects plant roots, suppresses weeds, and regulates soil temperature.

  • Make sure all trees, shrubs, perennials, and roses receive 1 inch of water per week. If Mother Nature does not provide this amount, it is best to water deeply once per week rather than water shallowly several times per week.

 

Tree and Shrub Care

  • Pinch off terminal growth buds on rhododendrons to increase next year's buds.

  • Prune all spring-flowering shrubs, if necessary, immediately after they flower.

  • Evergreens, such as boxwood or yew, can be lightly pruned after the new growth fills in to maintain a formal shape.

 

Rose Care

  • One application of fertilizer in the spring is usually sufficient for species roses such as Rosa rugosa and shrub roses. All other roses should be given their second application of a well-balanced fertilizer in mid-June or after their initial bloom period.

  • Monitor roses for black spot and other fungal leaf diseases. Remove infected leaves immediately and begin a preventative spray program with an approved fungicide at labeled intervals. Call Plant Information Service at (847) 835-0972 for effective fungicide recommendations.

  • Deadhead hybrid tea roses as soon as flowers fade. Many shrub roses are self-cleaning and don’t require deadheading. When in doubt, lightly prune old blossoms to keep plant looking attractive.

 

Annual and Perennial Care

  • When cutting peony blossoms to bring indoors, remove as few leaves from the plant as possible. Remove spent blooms after they are finished flowering.

  • Remove spent blooms of annuals and some perennials to encourage new flower formation. Stake tall perennials and continue to tie annual and perennial vines to supports. Continue to apply repellents to emerging summer-blooming lilies, if rabbits and deer have been a problem in the past.

  • Fertilize annuals in containers, baskets, and window boxes with a quarter-strength balanced fertilizer every seven to ten days. Always water the plants before adding liquid fertilizer.

  • Fertilize bulbs with a 9-9-6 slow-release fertilizer if you did not do so at planting time. Mark the spots with small stakes to repeat fertilizer application in the fall (when plants are not visible).  Continue to remove yellowing leaves of summer-flowering bulbs.

  • Tall, floppy plants such as chrysanthemums, asters, and tall sedums can be cut back by as much as half or pinched to regulate their height.

  • Sow seeds of biennials, such as hollyhock, directly into the garden this month for next year's bloom. Mark the area carefully to avoid accidentally disturbing the seeds.

  • Monitor plants, especially succulent new growth, for insects. Infested plants can be hosed down to remove small insect populations. Don't apply chemical treatments if ladybugs or other predator insects are present.

  • Mite activity often increases in hot, dry weather. Symptoms include stippled foliage which can be removed from plant. Refrain from applying chemical miticides which will also kill beneficial mites and increase mite populations. Consider releasing predators such as ladybugs or praying mantis to consume unwanted mites.

 

Lawn Care

  • Cool-season turf grass should be mowed to a height of 2 to 3 inches. This height can be raised during hot, dry periods or when turf is stressed due to disease, insects, or drought. A general rule of thumb is not to remove more than one-third of turf at one time.

  • Seed bare areas of turf with an appropriate grass seed mixture. Keep newly seeded lawns moist until seeds germinate. Do not allow the grass to become overly dry for the first year and limit excessive foot traffic. Begin mowing when the grass reaches a height of approximate 4 inches.  Do not fertilize your lawn in hot weather. The best time to fertilize is fall.

  • Established turf requires approximately 1 inch of water per week to keep grass green and actively growing. Lawns that are allowed to become dormant and brown usually recover nicely as precipitation increases in the fall. It is best to water early in the day, which will decrease the occurrence of turf disease.

 

Fruit, Vegetable, and Herb Care

  • Harvest peas, raspberries, and all cool-season lettuces and vegetables as they ripen.

  • If squash vine borer has been a problem in your garden, cover small transplants of squash, cucumbers, and zucchini with row covers to prevent moths from laying eggs on vines. Remove row covers when plants begin to flower. Consider planting resistant varieties next year.

  • Pinch top growth of herbs to encourage branching and keep them from flowering. Snip or cut off sprigs of herbs to use in cooking all season.

  • A fascinating nature project for families is to plant dill or fennel to attract swallowtail butterflies to lay their eggs. Watch for tiny eggs to develop into plump caterpillars that will feed on the herb foliage before pupating into butterflies.

  • Plant pumpkins at the first of the month. Large varieties require a 100-day growing season. If you gently carve names in developing pumpkins, the letters will enlarge as pumpkins grow.

  • Stake or cage tomatoes and peppers as they continue to grow.

  • Mulch your vegetable garden with straw to retain moisture.

 

Indoor Plant Care

  • Amaryllis plants should be placed in morning sun (preferably outdoors), watered regularly, and fertilized every 2 to 3 weeks with a general purpose, liquid fertilizer.

 

Source: Chicago Botanical Garden

 

Source: Chicagoland Gardening magazine

 
 
 
 
 
 

JULY GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • IMPORTANT:  It’s hot and dry.  Make sure your garden lawn, plants, trees and shrubs receive @ least 1 inch of  WATER per week.

  • Best way to retain extra moisture is mulch 2-4 inches in the garden beds.

 

WEED, WEED, WEED

  • Weeding is a perpetual task, however, the more you weed, the fewer weeds will grow.  Eventually weeding becomes a minor maintenance task.

 

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS

  • 20-20-20 Fertilizer for ROSES for the third and FINAL time @ the end of the month.  DO NOT fertilize after August 1st.  Deadhead back to the first set of      five leaflets and monitor for Blackspot. 

  • Promote second blooms by cutting back flower spikes from early blooming perennials such as catmint, geraniums, salvia.

  • Prune back annuals that are ‘leggy’ and fertilize with ½ strength fertilizer.

  • Continue watering and fertilizing those containers and hanging baskets.

  • Daylilies will need to have their spend flowers and seed heads removed.

  • Sedums, asters and chrysanthemum will need the last pinch to allow bud set for fall bloom.  Can be done until the middle of the month.

  • Stake those TALL plants with soft nylon ties, including the tomatoes.

  • Guide those Clematis vines to their supports.

  • Time to dig and divide Oriental Poppies as foliage dries.  Plant in sunny, well drained area. 

 

LAWN CARE

  • Mow high, 2 ½ -3 inches, leave grass clippings on lawn but not clumped. 

 

FRUIT, VEGETABLE, AND HERB CARE

  • Harvest, dry and freeze your herbs in small batches.  Pinch off the developing flowers to retain the oils and flavor in the foliage.

  • Tomatoes need an even supply of moisture rather an occasional soaking.

  • Consider a side dress of nitrogen fertilizer on your hot weather veggies:  peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers.

  • Get ready to sow fall crops the end of the month:  beans, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cabbage.

  • Support the swallowtail butterfly population:  monitor your fennel, dill, carrots for caterpillars.  In fact plant a special crop for them next year.  They LOVE to eat!!

 

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Hot summer sun through your windows can affect leaves.  Move to safety.

  • Lift plants and check leaves for insects.

  • Repot plants needing larger places to grow. 

HINTS

  • Watch for perennial sales at the garden centers.  By planting now, you can increase your collection and get those roots established for winter.

  • Check out:  University of Illinois Extension website for Common Problems for Vegetable Crops. http://extension.illinois.edu/vegproblems/

 

References:

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist/july

http://chicagolandgardening.com/index.php/web/read/july-what-to-do-in-the-garden

AUGUST GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • This is NOT the time to move plants however it is a GREAT time to Plant new things!

  • Inspect for insects on all your plants.  First priority is watering ALL newly planted trees and shrubs and lawns.

  • Pruning is not advised this month, with the exception of shrubs that have just flowered.

  • Mark your gardens with small stakes to note where fall planted bulbs should go.  Order Spring Bulbs.

  • Trim up flower bed edges as they tend to get ragged this time of the season.

  • Cut blooming flowers to bring indoors.

 

WEED, WEED, WEED      WATER, WATER, WATER

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS

  • DO NOT fertilize ROSES after August 1st.  Deadhead back to the first set of five leaflets and monitor for Black spot. 

  • Continue to deadhead to promote additional flowering.

  • Prune back annuals that are ‘leggy’ and fertilize with ¼ strength fertilizer twice this month.

  • Plant chrysanthemums and asters.  The earlier the mum is planted the greater the chance of it surviving the winter.  Mulch well.

  • Daylilies will need to have spent flowers and seed heads removed.  Green leaves must remain for photosynthesis. 

  • Feed acid loving plants one more time before fall:  Rhododendrons, azaleas

 

End of Month

  • Daylilies may be divided and replanted.

  • Peonies can be planted.

 

LAWN CARE

  • Mow high, 2 ½ -3 inches, leave grass clippings on lawn but not clumped. 

  • August 15 to September 7th is the best time to seed in Northern Illinois.  Recommendation is mix of Kentucky blue grass, perennial rye and fescue.  Water, water!

  • Grub damage will begin to show up this month as browned out areas or chewed up sections from skunks, raccoons tearing up the grass in search of grubs.

  •  Grass will go dormant and yellow in color in times of drought but will return with rainfall.

 

FRUIT, VEGETABLE, AND HERB CARE

  • Time to PLANT:  snap beans, cabbages, broccoli, carrots, spinach, radishes and lettuces for fall harvest.

  • Keep picking vegetables to keep them producing.

  • Giant squashes will have little or no flavor, pick early.

  • Tomatoes are VERY moisture sensitive…monitor blossom end rot,

  • Keep records for next year's garden plan.

 

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Hot summer sun through your windows can affect leaves.  Move to safety.

  • Continue to check for insects.

 

 HINTS

  • DONATE extra garden veggies to those in need!  Find a Food Pantry

  • Check out:  University of Illinois Extension website for Common Problems for Vegetable Crops.

 

extension.illinois.edu/vegproblems 

 

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist

 

http://chicagolandgardening.com/index.php/web/read/august-what-to-do-in-the-garden

 

SEPTEMBER GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • Time to plant trees and shrubs when they undergo color change.

  • Avoid pruning at this time

  • Control Poison Ivy before it goes dormant

  • Dig and store summer flowering bulbs

  • Save seeds from favorite self-pollinating non-hybrid flowers

  • Begin Compost heap if you do not already have one!

  • Continue to water trees and shrubs until ground freezes

 ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS:

  • Transplant and divide at this time.

  • Best time to divide peonies, 3-5 eyes, plant no more than 2 inches deep

  • Plant mums early so they have a chance to root and weather the winter

  • Do not cut back perennials until they leaves and stems have lost green color

LAWN CARE

  • Change mowing height to 2 inches

  • Fertilize Early in the month….MOST important application of the year

  • Reseed thin areas of lawn

  • Core aerate

FRUIT, VEGETABLE, AND HERB CARE

  • Continue harvesting to have productive plants

  • Add compost to garden beds

  • Seed bare garden areas with winter rye or barley for a winter cover crop.

  • Fall crop of spinach and leafy veggies

  • Harvest herbs and hang upside down to dry in dark space.

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Start preparing houseplants for the return to indoors. Check insects, clean leaves and containers, sheltered area.

  • Begin your 2-3 mo. Dormancy for amaryllis bulbs.  Stash in a cool dark place NO watering. 

  • Pot your Rosemary basil oregano chives for indoor winter use.

HINTS:

  • Swap out your container plants for frost tolerant mums, pansies and flowering kale.

  • Use same soil and compost the disease free annuals.  Time for a NEW LOOK!

  • Water your trees and shrubs so they are hydrated for winter

  • Average frost date is October 11-20

  • Order your garlic bulbs for mid October planting

         http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/homeowners/100909.html

 

         https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist

 

OCTOBER GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • CONTINUE to get that ONE inch of water a week on your perennials, flowers, shrubs and trees, especially if they are newly transplanted.  GRAB YOUR HOSE!

  • Apply anti-transpirants to your broad-leaved evergreens that are located in windy areas.  This will slow down water loss through the needles.  They may also be wrapped in burlap.

  • You may want to wrap your young trees and shrubs in poultry wired or hardware cloth to protect them from rabbits and vole damage.

  • Winterize aquatic gardens.

  • Save shredded leaves for mulching in November.

  • Clean birdbaths.

 

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS:

  • The end of fall, what a great season this was!  Make notes of what you did well and what you want to improve on.

  • Clean up your plant debris from the garden or you may want to consider leave some plant remnants for winter interest.  It does provide food for wildlife.

  • Continue to add to the compost pile with shredded leaves.  Till compost.

  • NOT TOO LATE TO PLANT SPRING BULBS!  Plant until the ground freezes.

  • A few weeks after a killing frost, lift and store your dahlias and cannas.

 

LAWN CARE

  • Continue mowing @ 2 inches until the grass is dormant.

 

FRUIT, VEGETABLE, AND HERB CARE

  • Plant your seed GARLIC.

  • Plant your MILKWEED.

  • Harvest PUMPKINS before a frost.

  • Ripen GREEN TOMATOES

    • Save only mature green tomatoes.

    • Place tomatoes in a cardboard box lined with newspaper, leave a little space between the fruit for air circulation.  Cover with newspaper.  Repeat second and third layer covering each with newspaper.  Cover box.

    • Store at 70-80 degrees to ripen in about two weeks.

    • Store at 60-70 degrees and 50-60 degrees for successive ripening.

    • A Banana in the box will turn the tomatoes red quicker due to the natural ethylene in banana’s to speed up the ripening.

 

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Acclimate plants indoors and rescue some favorites from the frost.

 

HINTS:

  • Soilless mix from containers can be discarded or kept aside for one more year.  If used again, mix equal parts of old and new mix.

  • Clean ceramic, cement, terra cotta containers and store in frost free space.

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/homeowners/041009.html

 

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist

 

NOVEMBER GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • CONTINUE to WATER as long as the soil is not frozen and evergreens are getting at least ONE inch of water every two week.  DO NOT put the hose away YET!

  • Disconnect outside water sources, drain hoses, store indoors.

  • Sharpen and oil tools.

  • Check expiration date on herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers to make sure they are still viable.

  • Clean and refill bird feeders.

 

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS:

  • MULCH flowerbeds and roses with loose wood chips, pine needles or shredded leaves.

  • Plants MUST BE completely dormant before mulching.  This may especially help chrysanthemums, which tend to die in winter due to the soil being too wet.

 

LAWN CARE

  • Continue mowing @ 2 inches until the grass almost dormant then last cut should be quite short.  This helps reduce snow mold fungus.

  • Fertilize a final time after the last mowing with a slow release organic 4-1-2 or 3-1-2 ratio to help green up the lawn faster in spring.

 

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Pot up amaryllis, paper whites and other bulbs for holiday bloom.

  • Try to wash plants occasionally with a warm shower.  Humidifiers and pebble trays raise humidity.

  • Continue fertilizing orchids with dilute orchid fertilizer until flower buds are set.  Check southern exposure so it does not scorch foliage.

 

HINTS

  • Best time to do a soil test is September through December.

 

https://extension.illinois.edu/soiltest/

 

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist/november

 

DECEMBER GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • If it snows avoid using salt-based de-icing products in or around garden areas.

  • Shovel snow before it freezes on sidewalks and sprinkle sand on sidewalks for traction.

  • When shoveling, try to distribute snow equally on garden plants instead of piling it all against  foundation planting or in the root zone of only one tree.

  • Maintain a supply of water for the birds.

  • Clean and refill bird feeders.

  • Ice accumulation on tree branches should be left to melt.

  • Immediately prune back branches damaged by snow and ice.

  • For heavy snows, remove snow loads from evergreens by gently sweeping snow off with a broom.

  • Continue to monitor rodent and animal damage on plantings in yard.

 

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS:

  • LIGHT pruning of deciduous trees and shrubs can be done this month.

 

LAWN CARE

  • Continue mowing @ 2 inches until the grass is almost dormant then last cut should be quite short.  This helps reduce snow mold fungus.

  • Fungus can also develop if excess garden debris and fallen leaves are left on grass over winter.

  • Avoid walking on frozen grass because it breaks the blades and mats down turf.

 

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Monitor plants for insect problems.

  • Choosing your Christmas Tree:

    • Choose trees with firm needles that do not drop off.

    • The bottom stump should be moist with some sap.

    • Balsam and White Fir; red, white, Scot pines & Douglas Fir retain Needles the longest.

    • Cut an additional 2 inches off the stump and plunge in warm water.

    • Keep stand full of water.  It can take up as much as a gallon/day.

    • Dry trees are fire hazards.

 

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist/december

 

Arlington Heights Garden Club       Arlington Heights, IL       ahgardenclub.com