Northern & Central Midwest

September, 2003
Regional Report

Plant Winter Ground Covers

In areas of the vegetable garden that are empty, sow winter rye to hold the soil in place through the winter. It will start growth now, and then in spring it can be tilled under to replenish nutrients in the soil.

Ready Houseplants To Come Indoors

Prepare houseplants to come indoors before frost. Check them over carefully for insects. A spray of summerweight oil mixed with a little insecticidal soap will help take care of any pests. Submerge the pot and soil ball in a bucket of water and leave for thirty minutes to kill any soil dwellers. Drain well.

Dry Down Amaryllis to Bring Indoors

Around the beginning of September, move amaryllis to a spot where they will not get rainfall, and let the foliage begin to yellow. Move the plants indoors before frost and let them continue to dry. They can be placed in a dark, cool spot for about six weeks, when they should be brought out for forcing into bloom.

Time to Start Saving Seeds

Pick healthy, strong fruit or vegetables as sources of seed. Self-pollinated or open-pollinated plants will set seed that will come true. Hybrids of plants such as peppers and cucumbers will not, so don't bother to save the seeds. You will find this information on the seed packet.

Great Weather for Composting

If you haven't started a compost pile, fall is a great time to start one. Select a place in a somewhat sunny area where you have access to some soil to shovel on the pile. Put your garden waste on the pile, shredding the larger stuff if possible, and layer it with soil. Sprinkle to keep it moist.

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