Archive for November, 2010


A Beautiful Autumn Day

November 5, 2010

A beautiful autumn day under the silver maple trees (Acer Saccharinum).

Photos were taken yesterday at different times.



Facts about Silver Maple Trees:

  • Deciduous.
  • Transplants easily.
  • Can live 130 years or more.
  • Ideal for wet bottomland sites.
  • One of the best trees for poor soil.
  • Medium to large fast growing tree.
  • Often used in residential areas for shade.
  • Leaves turn yellowish orange in the fall.
  • Easily recovers from extended periods of flooding.
  • Leaves are deeply cut and silvery white underneath.
  • The wood is soft and can be damaged by severe winds or ice storms.

Budding Garden Thoughts

November 4, 2010 Registered & Protected


“No leisure

until the rains come.

At autumn’s end

I am glad for the rest.”

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre


Last Chance for Homegrown Tomatoes

November 3, 2010

While talking with other gardeners, I learned that they haven’t removed their tomato plants because the vines are loaded with green tomatoes. However, it’s too cold now for tomatoes to ripen. They will ripen off the vine, though, or you can cook up a batch of green tomatoes to use as a garnish or add to your favorite recipes.

Pick the good green tomatoes before the first hard frost and toss the rest along with the tomato plant into the compost pile. Sort those you want to ripen into groups:  green with a little pink (these will ripen fastest), all green, and by size if you are using them for a specific recipe. Once you’ve sorted them, let them ripened in one of three ways:

  • Wrapped individually in newspaper.
  • Placed on a flat tray or box between a bottom and a top layer of several sheets of newspaper.
  • Placed in a closed paper bag.

Helpful hints:

  • Ripen stem side up.
  • Do not let the tomatoes touch one another.
  • Place tomatoes where the temperature won’t fall below 55 degrees.
  • Check daily. If one spoils, remove immediately so the other tomatoes don’t get infected.
  • Increase flavor by placing near-ripe tomatoes by a warm window one or two days before use.

Green tomatoes are delicious used in a variety of recipes: in vegetable soup, relish, sautéed and added to rice, chili, omelets, a stir-fry blend, and many other ways. So dust off those old cookbooks, put on your chef’s hat, and let your imagination fly or try a few of the many recipes found at,1-0,green_tomato_pickles,FF.html. 


November Garden Tasks

November 2, 2010

Please note:  What I write in this space are lessons learned through trial and error, research, and from other gardeners and professionals. I garden in zone 9, but share garden experiences that I believe are relevant to most zones within a reasonable time frame and planting conditions.

MaintenanceAs you begin to spend more time indoors, plan a few tool cleaning and repair sessions. First remove soil from your garden tools with a nylon or metal brush. Sharpen, wipe clean, and oil metal with spray or machine shop oil. If wooden handles are getting rough, lightly sand, oil or repaint to protect the wood.

Repair the end of water hoses. Replace broken sprinklers. Soak clogged shower-hose heads in warm water and vinegar. Bring timers indoors and remove the batteries. If battery acid leeks, it can damage the timer.

Protect faucets, pipes, and sprinkler valves from frost by wrapping them with old bath towels or rags.

In the vegetable garden:  Seed fava beans, carrots, Swiss chard, lettuce, mustard, onions, peas, radishes, shallots, spinach, turnips. Transplant Bok choy/Pak choc, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kale. Plant garlic cloves, horseradish roots, rhubarb roots.

If you’re not a winter vegetable gardener, you can amend the soil for spring planting before the ground turns soggy or frozen. Work in organic matter like shredded leaves, compost, and peat moss or plant cover crops such as fava beans and vetch. Cover crops add nitrogen to the soil and slow down the leaching of nutrients caused by rains.

In the landscapeCover frost-sensitive plants with frost cloth and move potted plants to a sheltered area. Frost cloth can stay on during daylight as it lets the sun in.

After pruning fruit trees and the leaves have fallen, apply dormant spray. Clean up the debris to prevent insects from gathering underneath.

Replace weak or damaged stakes so young trees and shrubs can stand against strong winds.

Mulch beds after the first frost, keeping mulch 3-6 inches away from trunks.

Plant cool-season color spots such as pansies, annual stock, primroses, snapdragons, Iceland poppies, calendulas, African daisies, chrysanthemums. Sow wildflower seeds now for a spring show. There’s still time to plant spring-blooming bulbs like tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, narcissus.

Although this is the time of year to cut back on watering, don’t let the soil dry out. Moisture provides warmth which helps to fight off frost damage. Potted plants don’t necessarily catch raindrops so keep an eye on the soil and water as needed.

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre


Rewards of your Labor

November 1, 2010

Finally, I’m out of my sickbed. A cough is hanging on and my back is still healing, but I managed to make it outside to the perennial garden for a slow walk.

Somehow, the plants coped nicely without me the past five days. In fact, the lavender is sweet and plush as if spring were about to burst. The salvia is in full bloom and a couple of humming birds have lingered longer this fall to take in the nectar. More volunteer chrysanthemums are popping up. I wonder where they got the energy to produce some many seeds.

The vegetable garden doesn’t look as good. The “eager farmer’s” boots have become a bird perch and his jeans are damp from dew, and I think from rain. Not sure about the rain because I was buried under the covers. The Brussels sprouts are growing but not without chewed leaves. The lettuce and spinach have disappeared. It seems I wasn’t the only one under attack.  

Beneath my office window, these wild sunflowers are as sunny as fresh-squeezed orange juice. They keep blooming as if they’re made of silk and don’t need watering. They were in a wildflower seed packet from a fan (thank you), and I have to say their spunk perked me up.

This is part of what gardening is about, taking in the rewards of your labor when you’re too tired or sick to dig the earth, deadhead pansies, or sow lettuce seeds. Rarely do I enter the perennial garden without an agenda. Walking the grounds to observe, minus a trowel in my hand, was nice. Special.

Maybe it was time to slow down.



Contest Winner

November 1, 2010

The winner of In and Around the Garden’s October Contest is:

 Betty L

The prize is a Michaels $10 gift card.

Thank you, everyone, who participated.

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