Frost, What to Do
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Well it has happened, we got our first frost! We are in November!
As things begin to slow down there are a few things you should keep in mind. First and foremost, November is the last month to get your soil samples to NCDA & CS for testing. Once we get past Thanksgiving, it is no longer free to test your samples
through the Agronomic lab. This is a really good time to get your lime out in the garden or on your lawn according to a soil report. Adding lime to the soil now will ensure your garden is ready to go in the spring. It takes roughly three months for lime to react and change the soil pH. Remember, lime raises pH (more basic) and sulfur lowers pH (more acidic).
In the garden, clean up those warm season plants to ensure that no disease carries over to next season. There is still time to plant a cover crop of rye, wheat, or barley in the garden to prevent erosion, prevent winter annual weeds, and replenish the soil. If you have a fall garden, those collards and kale just got a little sweeter! Usually after a good frost, the bitterness of these leafy veggies is gone.
In the lawn, make certain to not allow those leaves to build up over the grass. Even though the grass is going dormant, the leaves can smother it. Rake the leaves and add them to compost or shred them for use in your beds and garden as mulch. This is a great organic mulch that will build your soil as it decomposes while preventing winter annual weeds from getting out of control. Lastly, make certain to water your lawn every now and then if you have a real sandy soil. The roots of our warm season grasses still need moisture. This is especially important when we are having really cold temperatures. Turn those irrigation systems back to give the grass about ½” per week if we are not getting any measurable precipitation on sandy soils.
November through Christmas is the absolute best time of year to plant woody ornamentals and fruit trees as well! This allows the roots of the trees to grow before they must sustain the plants during the growing season. NC State research shows the planting during this time will actually put your trees miles ahead of those planted in the spring of the year. This is also a great time to plant new asparagus beds!
There is still a little room in the NC State Extension Master Gardener SM Volunteer-led Growing Garlic class coming up on Saturday, November 4 th . The class will be from 10:00-11:30. Participants will learn how to plant, grow, and cook with garlic. They will also get to take some garlic home to plant in their own gardens. Visit the Master Gardener℠ Volunteers of Beaufort County Facebook page or our N.C. Cooperative Extension, Beaufort County Center website for more information. If you are having an issue in your home landscape, give me a call! Until then, Happy Gardening!