Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Upper South

October, 2003
Regional Report

Move Tender Annuals Indoors

Impatiens, coleus, geraniums, and some other annuals aren't just for the outdoors. They make great houseplants that will brighten the house all winter long. Dig up several from the garden and pot up for wintertime color, or bring container-grown ones indoors. Trim plants back, if necessary, use a light potting soil, fertilize, keep evenly watered, and enjoy.

Keep Mowing and Raking

Mow the lawn as long as it continues to grow. Trim edges and rake or bag clippings. Leaving the grass long over the winter often leads to dead areas and disease problems. Now also is a good time for fertilizing lawns. Keep leaves raked regularly so they don't mat and smother the lawn. Shred with the lawn mower or a shredder and use as mulch or add to compost pile.

Plant Bulbs

The very early spring-flowering bulbs, such as some crocuses, snowdrops, and daffodils, must be planted as soon as possible. Later-flowering tulips and other bulbs can be planted up to the end of November. Experiment with color combinations. Consider a monochromatic scheme with a mixture of different types of bulbs of the same color, or a contrasting scheme with two different colors of the same type.

Care for Trees and Shrubs

Deciduous shrubs benefit from a fall top-dressing of superphosphate or bonemeal. Make sure shrubs, especially ones planted this year, get plenty of water in the fall before the ground freezes. Protect young tree trunks with tree wrap and mulch around trees and shrubs, leaving mulch several inches from the base to prevent rodent damage in winter.

Prep the Vegetable Garden

Clean up debris in vegetable gardens. Dispose of debris that might harbor insects or diseases, and compost the rest. Spread a layer of organic matter on the soil and till, then cover with another layer of organic matter. This will make preparing the soil in the spring much easier and quicker. Harvest and store root crops, winter squash, and pumpkins.


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