Starting A Compost Heap For Fall

By Kent Higgins

There are still flowers to enjoy in the garden in October. Unless there has been an unseasonable freeze, chrysanthemums are at their height, calendulas and verbenas are colorful, and roses are among the best produced all year.

Protecting roses for the winter - North of the Ohio River there are few areas where roses will survive the winter without protection. No one has found (so far) a material that protects roses as well as soil. But don't make the mistake of scooping out soil from between the rows of roses; this would merely put all last summer's blackspot and mildew spores to bed with the roses. Bring in fresh soil for the hilling job, piling it between bushes until needed.

Lifting gladioli and dahlias - Most of the gladiolus corms can be dug now for storage. This will leave only the last planting to ripen while freezing weather threatens. Also dig dahlias for storage as soon as frost blackens their tops. Both the gladiolus corms and dahlia roots should be dusted with fungicide after digging to reduce losses from disease during storage.

Moving trees and shrubs - After the first killing frost, trees and shrubs can be moved. The sooner this can be done, the sooner new roots will begin to develop. Don't forget to mulch the transplanted materials to keep frost out of the ground as long as possible. Also wrap the bark of newly transplanted trees with special tree wrap or burlap to prevent sun scald.

Starting a compost heap - The first leaves falling in autumn should remind you to start a compost pile. This is a good time to do it, for there will be plenty of material from the trees and garden to use. And don't hesitate to use weeds; the heat that is generated by the decaying organic matter should kill the weed seed.

Storing root crops, pumpkins, squashes and other vegetables - In the northern areas of the Midwest these crops should go into storage this month. Though storage can be delayed until November in areas farther south, it is hardly worthwhile, for so little growth is made in cool weather like growing plumbago plant. Instead of waiting, begin this operation as soon as convenient after the first killing frost.

Planting daffodils and tulips - There is still plenty of time to plant narcissi; and tulips really do better if planting is done in October rather than earlier. - 29857

About the Author:

Sign Up for our Free Newsletter

Enter email address here