Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Western Mountains and High Plains

October, 2009
Regional Report

Keep on Mowing

Autumn doesn't mean it's time to put away the lawn mower. Continue to mow at the same height and please don't scalp. A mowing height of 2 to 2-1/2 inches is recommended. Healthy green leaf blades are busy manufacturing food reserves needed for fall and winter hardiness.

Pumpkin Care

Keep your harvested pumpkins in a cool, dry area to prevent premature rotting. Protect from freezing since a hard frost will damage the outer skin. If you can, wait to carve pumpkins until a few days before you want them for display. Pumpkins shrivel and mold inside quickly after carving.

Cricket Patrol

Don't let crickets become a nuisance indoors. As the temperatures cool, crickets may try to find their way indoors to survive winter. Unless you like the chirping indoors at night, make sure the screen door and window screens are tightly sealed. If they make their way inside, you'll have to find their hiding places and vacuum them up.

Prepare Poinsettia for Re-Flowering

If you kept last year's poinsettia, now is the time to take steps to make it color up. The plant needs bright light during the daytime hours, but needs uninterrupted darkness for at least 12 hours each night. This cycle should be started in October by placing the plant in room where the lights don't come on at night. Or place a large cardboard box over the poinsettia plant at 5 p.m. At 8 a.m. in the morning, bring the plant back to bright light. Once the poinsettia develops color in the bracts, you can discontinue the "dark treatment."

Protect Vegetables from Hard Freezes

Prolong the growing season by protecting warm-season vegetables. When cold weather is predicted, cover them with a blanket or sheet in late afternoon, then remove the covers in the morning after temperatures warm. Woven frost blankets work well and can be anchored with landscape pins or stones. These allow sun and water in, but prevent light frosts from killing the plants.


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