In the Garden:
Western Mountains and High Plains
October, 2012
Regional Report

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Look upward and cherish the beauty of autumn.

Enjoy the Marvels of Autumn

The chill in the morning air signifies that fall is in the air. You and I have toiled in the garden and are reaping a harvest of vegetables, herbs and fruits. Plants throughout the landscape have already made preparations for a long winter's rest.

As the days get shorter and night temperatures dip into the 40s, many trees, shrubs, and vines are changing from green to warm rich colors. Now is the time to stop and savor the colors of yellow, gold, rust, orange and red as they unfold in the foliage.

Then, before the garden is devoid of foliage and flowers, take some time to listen to your garden. Plants can tell you a lot as the growing season comes to an end. It's a time to make notes on which plants did well and which plants were marginal or not worth growing again.

If you don't keep a garden journal or notebook, now is the time to start. This allows you to jot down notes about the current garden season. It will help you update your garden, noting which plants are dependable and which should be replaced. Identify plants that are outgrowing their space and make plans to divide them or remove them from the garden.

As you move about the garden, be on the watch for invading weeds. Weeds can quickly get out of hand and spread seeds that continue the invasion next year. Pull or dig weeds before they have a chance to disperse their seeds.

Mulched beds need late season attention, organic mulches settle and wind moves some of it around over the course of the growing season. Now is a good time to add new mulch in areas where gravel, shredded cedar, bark chips and other mulching materials have become thin. Mulch applied in fall helps retain soil moisture and prevent the heaving of plants that can often occur with the alternate freezing and thawing of the soil during the winter.

Take time not only to enjoy the beauty of your plants, but also to check their overall health. Look for signs of diseases and pest invasions. Pick up any fallen, diseased leaves and dispose of them so they be around as a source of infection next year.

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