Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association


October, 2000
Regional Report

Collect Seeds and Pods for Crafts

Harvest and dry interesting seeds, pods, and other natural materials for use in crafts and arrangements. Look for traditional materials such as milkweed pods and teasel flower heads as well as garden flowers such as blackberry lily and rose hips, vines such as hops and grape, trees such as sweetgum and, if you have a pond, lotus.

Clean Up Cucurbits

As cool weather kills the tops of warm-season vegetables such as squash and melons, they will stop producing. Neatly clear away the plant debris and discard it if you had serious pest or disease problems or compost it otherwise. Remove as much of the vine and foliage as possible to limit any carryover problems next year.

Saving Late Tomatoes

If a frost threatens, cover your tomatoes to protect them through the night. When a hard freeze looms, pick all the tomatoes that show any signs of coloring. Dip them in a 10% bleach and water solution, dry them thoroughly, and wrap them in clean newspaper. Store them in single layers in a cool location (55F). Bring them to room temperature as needed, and they will ripen gradually. Check often for any rotting fruits.

Fertilize Spring-Flowering Bulbs

Mix Bulb Booster fertilizer into the soil at the bottom of each hole as you plant new spring-flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. For established bulbs, broadcast a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 over the planting area at a rate of one pound per 100 square feet or according to label instructions. Water well after fertilizing.

Continue Mowing the Lawn

Fall\'s milder temperatures and generous rainfall encourage lawn grasses to grow vigorously. Continue to mow often enough to remove no more than one third of the lawn\'s height each time. To protect your lawn from smothering under fallen leaves, remove them promptly by raking, mowing, or using a leaf catcher. Save the leaves and herbicide-free clippings for the compost pile.


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