Northern & Central Midwest

October, 2003
Regional Report

Dig Tender Bulbs for Storage

Dig cannas and dahlias as soon as the leaves are blackened by frost. Cut the stems back to about 4 inches and dig the tubers carefully. Let them dry for several hours and store them between 35 and 50 degrees in dry peat moss, sawdust, vermiculite, or sand.

Take Geranium Cuttings

If your geraniums are still alive, take 3- to 4-inch stem tip cuttings, strip off the lower leaves, and dip the ends in rooting hormone. Stick the cuttings in sterile potting soil, water well, and cover with a plastic bag. They should have roots in three to four weeks.

Record This Year's Successes and Failures

While you are cleaning up the debris in the vegetable garden, take time to make some notes. Jot down where you planted what, how you are preparing the beds, what you want to do differently next spring. You'll be amazed at how amnesia clicks in next March when you try to remember your plans.

You Can Still Plant Bulbs

If your ground isn't frozen, you can still put in spring-flowering bulbs. Water them in after planting, and cover the soil with finely textured mulch. Be sure to make a note of where you planted things so you don't disturb them when you begin enthusiastically planting perennials next spring.

Plant Amaryllis

Begin forcing amaryllis bulbs in mid-November for Christmas bloom. Remove an inch of the old potting soil and replace it with new soil. Water it well and put it in a cool spot (about 60 degrees F). Water lightly until growth appears, and then water more frequently. Move it into a warm, sunny window.

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