Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Western Mountains and High Plains

October, 2010
Regional Report

Prepare to store tender summer bulbs

After the frost has killed back the top of dahlias, begonias, and gladiolus, it's time to lift these tender bulbs from the soil. Use a spading fork to dig them. Trim away dead leaves, shake off excess soil, and put in cardboard boxes lined with wax paper. Place in a cool basement or insulated garage.

Be on the watch for firewood pests

Listen and watch for beetles in firewood. You can hear them chomping and may see deposits of fine sawdust around woodpiles. If this becomes a problem, cover the woodpile with clear plastic to capture the sun's heat and cook them. Otherwise, burning the wood this winter will get rid of the problem. By the way, these beetles won't attack your furniture.

Patch lawn with sod

As long as the ground is not frozen solid, you still have time to patch up those bare areas in your lawn. Since it's too late to seed grasses, purchase rolls of sod that already have well established roots. Cut the sod to fit the areas that have died out. Sod will root in within a few short weeks.

Clean birdbaths

It's time to clean the bird bath and set it out for wild birds that spend the winter. Water can be scarce in late fall and winter, so keep the birdbath well supplied for feathered friends. Use a thermostatically controlled birdbath de-icer to keep the water thawed for the birds to drink and bathe in.

Containerize leftover bulbs

If you have some extra hyacinth, tulip or daffodil bulbs lying around, pot them up in clay bulb pots. Use a well-drained potting soil and water in thoroughly. Set the potted bulbs in a cool spot such as a window well and cover with mulch. Water as needed as the soil dries out. You can bring them indoors within 8 to 10 weeks for early spring blooms.


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