Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

October, 2000
Regional Report

Prune Raspberries

After everbearing raspberries have finished their fall fruiting, either remove canes at ground level or cut off the bearing tips. The bottoms of these canes will bear the spring crop of raspberries, and new fall-bearing canes will come from the crown. Dispose of them completely to prevent disease organisms from overwintering.

Test the Soil

Fall's a good time to have your soil tested. Soil labs are seldom swamped this time of year, so you'll get your results faster. Take small samples from several spots in your garden, mix them together and send about a 1-cup sample to the lab. Contact your state university county extension office for the lab closest to you and detailed instructions.

Plant Trees and Shrubs

Fall is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs. Try to dig your hole about twice as wide as the soil ball, and situate the plant at the same soil level as it was in the nursery. Put back into the hole only the soil you took out. Water in very well. Stake the tree only if the trunk isn't sturdy and stake it only through the winter.

Grow Herbs on Your Windowsill

Pot up herbs for the windowsill this winter. Divide and pot rosemary, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, and mint from the garden. After potting them in sterile potting soil, cover pot and soil with an old nylon to prevent insects from entering. Leave the plants outside for a couple of weeks to adjust to the pots. Cut them back to bring them in just before frost.

Start Feeding the Birds

Clean birdfeeders and get them ready and filled before natural seeds and berries are gone to get the birds used to the new food supply. The best location to place feeders is near trees and shrubs for cover. Birds need water also, so think about adding a bird bath heater this year. The birds will love clean water through the winter.


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