Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

October, 2011
Regional Report

Lift Tender Bulbs

After a killing frost, lift and store tender bulbs. Cut back foliage and stems and gently lift tubers, rhizomes or bulbs with a garden fork. Shake off excess soil and dry tubers in a warm dry place. Label tubers and store in cardboard boxes filled with barely moist wood shavings, peat moss, or vermiculite. Store at 40-50 degrees.

Winterize Ponds

Protect small ponds from freezing by covering them with thin plywood sheets and layers of mulch or shredded leaves. Or install a pond heater to keep the water surface from freezing. If a thin layer of ice forms on the water surface, pour hot water on the ice to melt it.

Harvest Winter Squash

Harvest all winter squash and pumpkins before killing frost. Wash gently with soap and water and dry well to prevent bacterial infection. Store in a cool, dry basement at about 50 degrees. They will keep through the winter and provide your table with high vitamin, high fiber nutrition.

Protect Against Critters

If rabbits, rodents, or deer have been a problem in past winters, take precautions with valuable woody plants now. Physical barriers are more effective than sprays. Spread garden netting or snow fencing around abused trees and cut down plants that provide winter habitats to critters, such as ornamental grass clumps or perennials left standing for winter interest.


With all the garden debris presenting itself at this time of year, it's prime time to compost. Simply layer brown matter such dried leaves and straw with green materials such as kitchen vegetable scraps and weeds (without seeds). Toss a handful of soil on top and water in.


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