Rain request for garden answered, again

It never fails. Never. Every time I have written a column about the need for rain, it rains. As you might have noticed, last week’s column was all about the need for moisture in the plant root zone as they go into winter.

And we got plenty of moisture – at least in Clark County and in my landscape. Friday was a perfectly nice, slow rainy kind of day.

I suggested that you keep your garden hoses out and now they are nice and cold (and stiff); I apologize. If it’s any consolation, mine are still out as well. I will have fun rolling up the stiff hoses and tucking them into my container. Oh well.

Again, look at the bright side – we got rain.

I am confident that last week’s rain coupled with what we got this week and cooler temperatures will go a long way in keeping plant roots healthy.

ExploreDon’t close the garden too early

I see a lot of mums hanging out on porches and front steps that are almost spent. Blooms have faded and plants are still green. Don’t throw them away, plant them.

I truly believe that the reason mums don’t overwinter is that we forget about them once they finish blooming – guilty as charged. We forget to water them and that they are living plants.

Plant these in the ground, water them in, and in late November, cover them with mulch and they may become a hardy mum in your garden.

Typically, when the blooms die, we forget about them. Don’t. The root systems are still functioning, and the foliage is still green. Water them and get them in the ground.

Of course, the earlier in the fall that you plant them, the better. However, I have had great luck planting them this late in the season. If I water them in (no dry soil) and cover them with mulch in late November.

In the early spring (around early March) I remove the mulch and the new growth begins. I have several varieties of mums that I have kept for years.

Keep in mind the florist mums, those that you receive from a florist that has large flowers, are not hardy. These are strictly for potted mums and won’t make it through the winter. These varieties include the pom pom mums and perform best in containers.

If you can still find them, or you find them on clearance, pansies and potted flowering kale and cabbage make great fall and winter decorations. If the winter is mild, they will even look great going into the spring.

And finally, there is still plenty of time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. Ours just arrived this past week and we have a lot of planting to do!

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu.

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