Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Western Mountains and High Plains

October, 2004
Regional Report

Harvesting Summer Bulbs

As you prepare to dig up and store summer-flowering (non-hardy) bulbs over the winter (gladioli, dahlias, cannas, caladiums and others), allow them to dry out for about a week. This helps cure them and keeps mold diseases from attacking the bulbs or tubers. Store them in sphagnum peat moss, sawdust, vermiculite, shredded newspaper or sharp sand in a wooden box or plastic cooler with ventilation. Keep in a cool (50 degrees F.), dry location.

Continue to Clean Up the Garden

As leaves fall from roses and other shrubs, take time to pick them up and put them into the compost pile. This is an excellent way to recycle disease-free leaves and have a great soil conditioner next spring. Bag up and dispose of diseased leaves.

Plant Spring-Flowering Bulbs

As the soil begins to cool down, we can start to plant bulbs that will bloom next spring. Plant them in large groups, rather than lining them up like toy soldiers. This will make a more spectacular display in your yard. Set them in the prepared bed with pointed side up.

Winterize to Keep Out Uninvited Guests

Spiders, boxelder bugs, mites, beetles and other pests will seek out warm quarters to spend the winter. Now is the time to caulk around windows, door frames and siding to keep them from gaining entry. This goes for the wasps that are seeking a place to hibernate, too.

Protect Water Features from Freezing Temperatures

In some areas it's time to winterize fountains and other water features. Remove the pump, drain the fountain and cover it with a plastic or protective liner. This will protect the finish and prevent cracking and crumbling with fluctuating temperatures.


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