Northern & Central Midwest

October, 2005
Regional Report

Test Your Soil

If you haven't a clue what your pH is, have your soil tested. Contact a soil lab or your local county Extension Service to get a test kit. The results will let you know how alkaline or acid your soil is, and what improvements are recommended for the types of plants you grow.

Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors

If frost is imminent and you don't want to go to the trouble of covering your tomatoes, pick all the tomatoes green. They will ripen best if removed from the vine and wrapped in newspaper (prevents them from rotting). Ripen them at room temperature or a little cooler.

Plant Woodies

This is an ideal time to plant or transplant woody plants. Dig the hole three to four times wider than the rootball, and plant at the same depth the plant was growing in the container or nursery. Backfill with only the soil you took out of the hole, then mulch and water well all fall.

Prepare Houseplants for the Move Indoors

Spray houseplants with a combination of horticultural oil and insecticidal soap to take care of any critters hiding in the crevices. Submerge the pot in a bucket of warm water for half an hour and then drain well to remove or kill any soil-dwelling pests. Move plants indoors before frost.

Plant Spring-Blooming Bulbs

Plan your spring display by planting spring-blooming bulbs. Plant at the depth recommended on the package (or at 1-1/2 times the diameter of the bulb). Water in and then mulch after planting. Select squirrel-resistant bulbs like ornamental onion, grape hyacinth, fritillary, narcissus, windflower, and winter aconite.

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