Western Mountains and High Plains
Tidy the Water Garden
Water temperatures are cooling and water gardens are in transition. Lily pads that yellow should be clipped as the plants are becoming dormant. Don't allow plant debris to accumulate in the pond as it will rot and form a black slime at the bottom of the pond. This will emit harmful gases that can harm fish and snails.
Check Lawn for Dry Spots
The warm fall weather may result in brown patches showing up in your lawn. Check for poor water penetration and core-aerate these spots as needed. This will allow for water to percolate deeper and allow the grass to green up. Apply an organic lawn fertilizer after the spots are aerated.
Get Ready to Store Tender Bulbs
After the frost has killed the foliage of tender bulbs like dahlias, tuberous begonias, and caladiums, dig the clumps and store the tubers. Be sure to leave a couple inches of stem on dahlia tubers as this is the area that new buds will emerge. Use an old picnic cooler to store the bulbs with sphagnum peat moss or vermiculite.
Preserve Your Bounty
Preserve the fall garden harvest by freezing or canning vegetables and fruits. Check for courses offered through your local Cooperative Extension offices or community college. There are many good books on the subject at the local library, too.
Save Favorite Plants
If you have some favorite coleus and geranium plants you would like to keep over the winter, take cuttings now and bring them indoors to root. A dusting of rooting hormone powder on the cut ends helps roots get started in the potting mixture. Grow in a sunny east or south-facing window to maintain health and vigor.