Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Gardening Checklist for Cool Air; Pick the Right Blossoms, Herbs and Repellents for November

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Gardening Checklist for Cool Air; Pick the Right Blossoms, Herbs and Repellents for November

Article excerpt

Byline: Amy E. Morie

November's shorter days may make it harder to get out in the garden, but the cooler temperatures are a great time to get some heavy chores done.

Take a look at your garden checklist for items you skipped due to summer heat, and set aside some time before the holidays to cross some of your heavy tasks off the list. Then, indulge in a little seasonal planting to decorate inside - and out.

Here is your November timetable:

MUM'S THE WORD

For fall colors to complement your holiday decorating, it's hard to beat mums. Their cheery blooms are full of great color - deep, rich shades of red, orange, yellow, as well as white, lavender and mauve. When selecting mums for your home or workplace, consider a few pointers on growing these beautiful blooms:

There are two basic types of mums. Garden mums are cold hardy and do well in landscape plantings. Purchase these to plant outside now or after the holidays are over. Florist's mums are more delicate. They cannot survive outdoors when temperatures plummet, making them suitable for short-term display indoors.

When selecting plants now, look for lots of buds and just a few open flowers to check the color. That way, your display won't be done before the month is out. If you're buying plants closer to the holidays, go ahead and go for the full-on open blooms.

Keep mums moist but not soggy, and place plants away from lights at night - short days trigger blooming, so bright night lights can prevent your mums from making a show.

MOTHBALL REPELLENT?

If you have insects eating clothes in your woolens as you unpack them for winter, then mothballs may be the answer. These pesticide products are effective tools against fabric pests when properly used in an airtight space (sealed container or garment bag). Take a look and you'll see the label does NOT mention other uses for mothballs.

I've met many folks who mention using mothballs for a variety of problems unrelated to their intended use - and recently have been hearing even more reports along these lines. Unfortunately, mothballs are not labeled as a deterrent for other pests, nuisance animals, or even for outdoor sites for good reason: They are toxic to humans, pets and wildlife and contaminate soil, water and plants.

The mothballs start out solid. Room-temperature conditions trigger the pesticide to be released as fumes or vapors to carry the active ingredient (typically naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene). This method of delivery means the pesticide can be inhaled when used outside of an airtight container. There is also the danger that children, pets and wildlife will accidentally contact or ingest the mothballs.

The EPA states that short-term "exposure of humans to naphthalene by inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact is associated with hemolytic anemia, damage to the liver and, in infants, neurological damage" (www. …

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