A GROWING CONCERN: Mid-season chores plan for next seasons

  • Sunday, November 14, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

Not only have the rains descended upon us, but the last day of mid-mid-fall is here.

Monday is the first day of late-mid fall. For many of our psyches, this is bad news because winter is now closer to us than summer.

The mid-mid of any season is important to the gardener. It signals the middle and allows us to apply the philosophy of the glass. Is fall now half-full or empty? This age-old question of attitude is what mid-mid of any season should pose to the gardener.

In your yard, both answers should be correct depending on what we are looking at and what we are trying to accomplish. This is all geared to the reality of year-round gardening and the reason I write this column.

Remember, it is all about what we have and where we are going.

Earlier this year, we discussed the beginning of a season and the quintessential characteristics of the early trimester of any season. This is in play now, for it is the axiom, “the right plant at the right time for the right space” that we are always trying to uphold.

Too many times an individual goes gung-ho for a week or two. They plant and till, prune and cut back — but it tends to be clumped into a few weeks (May, September, holiday decorations). This generally translates to few ornamental plants during many weeks of the season.

The mid-point of a season is time to assess the garden and figure out these empty spots.

See the yard as half-full, awaiting material that will bloom and respond now, and through next season. The mid of a season gives one ample time to enjoy the conditions of that season and thus there is ample time to plant.

Another bonus is the plant material itself.

Especially in our commercialized society, businesses are always pushing things early in front of someone else.

Just look at the stores today. Is Christmas or Thanksgiving the next holiday?

What this means to the gardening consumer is reduced, on sale, or my favorite, “Everything Must Go!”

As we move into the mid-trimester, plant prices generously go down, way down. I always seek out my best deals now. It is truly great, for not only can one see what the yard needs now, but one can also see now how the plants in the yard will perform for the remainder of the season.

Then the person can go out and get those filled in plants, seeds and fertilizer for 20 to 50 percent off all red tag items.

Everyone can go out now and find your yard and garden half-full.

Since Nov. 9, we have been closer to winter in days than we are further away.

As a season slips over mid-mid, so should the gardener look to the next season.

Numerous tasks mount up now for a variety of reasons.

Get in the habit of specifically going around the yard during the mid period. Find those plants that are now half empty. Clip them, snip them, deadhead and do to the plant what it needs for an even more spectacular next year.

Cultivatation and aeration is so crucial to your soil.

A midseason, overall, light cultivation of your plants is so loved by your plants.

Right now, it will kill those weeds that have recently germinated, plus check the moss. It will also allow the soil to better soak up the ensuing rain, lessening runoff.

The mid-trimester is also a great time for many nutrient programs.

The plants have been growing now for weeks and their fertilizer glass is definitely half-empty (or less).

I especially like organic compost and mulch for the mid period. Specifically-targeted, foliar feeds give a luster to plants as we move into winter. Add bone meal now to all perennials and bulbs.

On another tack, the mid period also signals the time one starts in earnest for the upcoming season.

For many plants and seeds, it takes time to order them and receive them.

The mid of a season is the time one should begin a list.

Where are the holes that will appear in my garden?

What are the spots I need to add response?

What are these plants I always like in so-and-so’s yard that look so great in January? (Hint: think camellias, heather, holly and yucca).

Now is a great time to prepare for the next season. Then will you not only have the plants you want, but time to do the jobs. In a few weeks, cultivate and fertilize the area those heathers will be planted in during December.

Begin now, pulling away the grass for the new perennial bed.

Cut away a few branches and then tighten up the ladder so your winter pruning of the fruit trees is nothing but smooth sailing.

In essence, get ready to go to the faucet and fill your glass to the top again.

And don’t forget to clean up your roses, removing all old foliage from the plant and surrounding soil. But do not prune them yet!

And please, stay well all!

________

Andrew May is a freelance writer and ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email [email protected] (subject line: Andrew May).

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