Mid-Atlantic

September, 2004
Regional Report

Collect for Dried Arrangements

Unusual and ornamental seed heads and seedpods from plants such as hostas, blackberry lilies, sumac, okra, poppies, roses, teasel, butterfly weed, and milkweed should be harvested when dry and saved in a dark, dry, airy location for use in arrangements this fall and winter.

Start Windowsill Herbs

Pot up culinary and fragrant herbs, such as parsley, chives, mint, thyme, rosemary, bay trees, and scented geraniums, to enjoy on the windowsill this fall and winter. Annuals like basil and dill can be seeded every few weeks beginning now. All of these herbs need a bright, sunny location to grow through the short days of winter.

Bring Tropicals Indoors

Many of the flowering, summer, patio plants can be brought inside for winter blooms. They should be washed with a spray of water from the garden hose to remove any hitchhiking pests and gradually brought indoors into the brightest location available. Begin this process early enough so that they are not exposed to temperatures below 45 to 50 degrees.

Prepare to Compost

Fall cleanup yields armloads of garden trimmings and piles of autumn leaves -- perfect ingredients to compost along with end-of-season grass clippings. This is a great time of year to start a compost bin or heap. Select a site and build your frame of wood or use a wire mesh cylinder (or plan to simply pile it up) so you can take full advantage of the bountiful, free, raw materials.

Prime Your Poinsettia

If you saved a poinsettia from last winter, you will need to condition it to force it to color up again by December. The plant needs 14 hours or so of uninterrupted darkness every night for about ten weeks, starting about October first. Provide this by covering it with an opaque cardboard box or putting it in a dark closet nightly. Remember to put it back on the sunny windowsill every day.

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