Archived Story

Bunkey’s job jar is full

Published 6:00am Monday, September 30, 2013

Petunia gave Bunkey a list of jobs as long as his arm to be done before unassembled snowmen start to descend on them.  Here are a few of them.

1) Pick up leaves as they fall. That way the lawnmower’s grass catcher won’t plug up with every run.

This is especially important if you are using leaves as a mulch on the flower beds.

If you have a large bed, it takes a lot of leaves and the wind has a tendency to move them around, leaving bare spots.

2) Put grass seed in the bare spots in the lawn. Cool weather is a perfect time to reseed grass. The autumn rains mean you don’t have to haul the hose out as often.

3) Cut the grass until it freezes up, and cut it shorter than during the heat of the summer. This helps prevent snow mold and the longer grass makes for a perfect cover for the new grass seed.

4) Sprinkle annual flower seeds in the flower bed. Cleonme, poppies, bachelor buttons, marigolds and many more annuals will come back in the spring if merely sprinkled on bare soil just after a freeze.

The soil should be cold so they don’t start to grow this fall. This works very well for radishes, spinach and lettuce.

They pop up long before the seeds you carefully plant.

5) Remove all windfalls from the apple and plum trees.  This keeps the hornets and wasps away and removes food for the apple maggot.

6) Pull the dead vines and corn stalks from the garden. Vines love to wrap around the tines of a tiller causing the tiller operator to use bad language.

Corn stalks are difficult to pull out in the spring and even more difficult to till up. Use them for fall décor or to hold down the leaf pile until you can use it for mulch.

7) Put a layer of leaves on the garden and till it and any greens still there. Add a sprinkle of nitrogen.

This gets the soil ready for spring planting.  The nitrogen assists the bacteria and worms in the soil to make compost of the litter.

8) Empty the flower pots into the flower bed and wash them out with a 10 to 1 solution of bleach.  Leaving soil in a pot can cause the pot to break during the winter.

You can re-use the soil if you can store it in an unbreakable container. A wooden box works, or a large garbage bag.  To re-use, add fertilizer and at least one-fourth inch new soil in the spring.

9) Drain all the hoses and put them away. Bunkey had to buy three new hoses this spring. They had water in them, froze and broke where the water had collected.

10) Keep weeding until freeze-up.  Any weed that goes to seed will result in a gazillion babies in the spring.

11) Clean the acorns and maple helicopters out of the gutters so they don’t overflow.

This should keep the poor boy busy until the end of the month at least.

The rule in their house is:  Petunia keeps house and Bunkey does everything else.


Bev Johnson is a master gardener for Otter Tail County.


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