Get out your calendar because there’s a lot to do, and this is our last column until April.
Start raking the leaves. Watch to see when leaf pickup is scheduled in your neighborhood, if it is at all. Leaves put into paper bags may be picked up separately or can be taken to a recycling site, but leaves in plastic bags will always be treated as trash and sent to the landfill. I always shop in other people’s trash for clear plastic bags of leaves, which I will mix and match before taking home and chopping small with my lawnmower. I then spread them on my flower perennial and vegetable beds as a protective mulch.
November: Although our average frost date is Oct. 31 here in the city, we may go as late as Thanksgiving without a hard frost. And that’s the best time to pick your cole crops — cabbage, collards, mustards, etc. — in time for your Thanksgiving meal. In the meantime, keep checking every day for the green worms and orange bugs that can devastate your plants, leaving you nothing to be thankful for.
December: The first week of December is an excellent time to prune and shape minor evergreens, like junipers, euonymus, arborvitae, and yew, both to make them fit their space better before the heavy snows come and to have plenty of fresh branches for your winter decorating.
During the rest of the winter months, write down what worked in your garden this year and what you swear you never will do again. That way, you have a record of what you hated and loved before you are seduced by next year’s spring catalogs.
Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and a co-owner of Cobblestone Krautery (www.cobblestonekrautery.com).