Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

New England

October, 2009
Regional Report

Prepare Tools for Winter Storage

Clean the soil off shovels, spades, and trowels using a rag or wire brush, then wipe blades with an oiled cloth. Make sure pruners are free from dirt and plant debris, and wipe down the blades with the oiled cloth. Empty pots of dead plants and soil, adding the debris to the compost pile, and rinse the pots. Next spring, you'll be glad you took the time to do these chores.

Prepare New Beds

Most perennials need a well-loosened and amended soil, so prepare the soil now for spring planting. If the bed is in a low spot, build it up into a mound that will drain surface water. You can add soil from another part of your yard or buy topsoil or a mix of coarse sand and compost to raise the level.

Enjoy Tender Annuals Indoors

If you have good indoor light or grow lights, you can keep fuchsias, geraniums, and begonias flowering during the winter, or at least for awhile longer. Or, if you want to let them go dormant, cut the stems of fuchsias and geraniums back to the edge of the containers and store the pots in a cool, dry location. Stop watering tuberous begonias. When the foliage drops, remove the tubers, rinse and dry them, and store them in perlite or vermiculite in a cool, dry spot.

Harvest Dried Beans

If the pods of your shelling beans are brown and dry, it's time to harvest. Pick the beans pods and place them in a burlap bag. Hit the bag with a stick or bat to break pods and release the beans. Separate the beans from the bean pod chaff and store them in a moisture-proof, airtight container.

Rake and Shred Leaves

Fall's leaves are both a blessing and a curse. Left on the lawn, they can mat down and suffocate the grass underneath. Turn them into the true blessing that they are by raking them up, shredding them (with a shredder or by running over them with a lawn mover), and using them to mulch gardens. Throw any extra in the compost pile.


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