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42° Good Morning
November is no time for gardeners to rest.

November is no time for gardeners to rest. Credit: NEWSDAY / Jim Peppler

The colors of autumn are everywhere, and when the foliage falls, flaxen grasses and bare branches take on a beauty of their own.

Be thankful for crisp, sweater weather, and find something to love about the bundled-up days to come. Spring will be here before you know it, and in the meantime, stay connected with the garden by tackling one of these chores each day.

1. Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Set clocks back an hour to return to Standard time.

2. For December blooms, keep Christmas cactus in bright light for 10 hours daily, and in complete darkness at 55-60 degrees for 14 hours each night.

3. It's Election Day. Make your choice at the polls, then choose bulbs to plant in the garden.

4. Start forcing paperwhites, amaryllis and hyacinth bulbs indoors now for holiday blooms. Instructions at

5. Harvest winter squash after vines die back but before frost hits.

6. Mow the lawn one last time, shorter than usual, to just 11/2 inches.

7. Monitor houseplants for spider mites and scale. If you spot any, treat immediately.

8. Winterize water gardens and cover koi ponds with netting.

9. Add raked leaves to the compost pile, or shred and apply as mulch around plants after several hard frosts.

10. Remove weak or cracked tree branches to protect them from being ripped off by winter winds.

11. It's Veterans Day. Raise a flag in the garden to honor those who have served.

12. A mouse can squeeze through a hole the width of a pencil -- inspect foundations and crawl spaces and fill gaps and cracks with sealant or steel wool.

13. Tie upright junipers and arborvitaes loosely with twine to protect against snow and ice damage.

14. Empty planters and wash with a 90/10 water/bleach solution. Store clay pots indoors (they will crack if left in the cold).

15. Clean and stock bird feeders, and consider a de-icer for the birdbath.

16. Clean up around roses, fruit trees, lilacs and others that have exhibited disease and discard debris in the trash to ward off reinfection next year.

17. Inspect for viburnum leaf beetles after leaves fall. Remove twigs and branches that have egg cases attached.

18. Check deer fences for gaps and repair if necessary.

19. Clear gutters of leaves and debris.

20. Prepare a bed now for planting peas in March.

21. Rake thoroughly under roses to help prevent fungal diseases next year.

22. Plant evergreens, opting for balled-and-burlapped over potted when possible.

23. Dig and pot up chives and parsley, and grow in the kitchen by a sunny window.

24. Protect broadleaf evergreens like rhododendrons from winter dehydration by spraying with an anti-desiccant when temperatures are above 40 degrees.

25. Dig up and store cannas, colocasias, dahlias, caladiums and gladioli after they've been blackened by frost.

26. Happy Thanksgiving! Set the table with potted kale and cabbage centerpieces, then wrap the fig tree. (View a how-to at

27. Store firewood outdoors to avoid bringing insects into the house.

28. Cut asparagus foliage to the ground. Mulch over with 2 inches of well-rotted manure.

29. Continue watering recently transplanted and divided plants to ensure they don't die before winter sets in.

30. Let dry, dead stems remain on mums to insulate new growth that emerges next spring.


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