15November 30, 2011

It’s hard to believe that we are at the end of November and the weather is still so warm. If this carries on through the rest of the winter, we will save a bundle on heating costs.

Many of you got around to planting your tulip and daffodil bulbs late in the season. Several people asked me if I thought that the bulbs would flower in the spring. With soil temperatures still so warm, the bulbs should have time to get their root system out into the soil. This is important because the bulbs need to root and then the bulbs need to be exposed to cold soil temperatures followed by warming soil temperatures in the spring to get the bulbs to flower. Since this is New England, we never know how fast the soil temperatures will drop. If you want your bulbs to have extra time to root, you can place a 3 – inch layer of mulch on top of the area where you planted the bulbs. The layer of mulch will act as insulation, slowing down the cooling of the soil temperatures.

Last week, I told you about the need to put your chemicals away for the winter. This week’s chore is to gather up all the gardening tools and get them ready for winter. Shovels should be wiped down to get all the dirt off the metal parts. Dirt left on the tool will cause rusting of the tool. A light coating of oil or an application of a silicone spray will finish the job. The same goes for any of your other long handle tools. Pruners and loping shears should have the metal parts cleaned too. Sap builds up on the blades, making it harder for the tools to make a clean cut. Rubbing alcohol will remove the sap. Once this has been done, an application of oil or silicone spray will finish the job. Your gas powered tool need cleaning too. Dried grass under the deck of the lawn mower will trap moisture, causing the deck to rust. Blades should be sharpened and coated with oil. The oil should be changed and the metal parts need to have an application of silicone spray. Before you attempt any of this, check your owner’s manual on how to disconnect the spark plug wire. If the wire is left connected and you turn the blade, the mower could start with disastrous results to fingers and hands that may be under the mower.

Weed wackers and leaf blowers need maintenance too. Ditto for hedge trimmers. You may want to take these to your local equipment dealer to have the servicing down now so that the tools will be ready for spring.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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