Western Mountains and High Plains

October, 2005
Regional Report

Prepare Garden Soil for Winter

Collect clean, disease-free garden debris from the landscape -- including fallen leaves and grass clippings -- and spade or rototill these materials directly into the garden. This will help to hold the soil open in fall and winter, allowing deeper penetration of moisture while preventing crusting and gradually improving soil structure.

Force Bulbs for Indoor Flowers

Pot up some bulbs to force indoors this winter. Set the potted bulbs in a cold frame or in a trench near the house or another protected place. The bulbs will develop roots and get the required chilling. Bring them into a cool room starting in mid-January. Flowers should begin to unfurl during February and early March.

Recycle Harvest Wastes in the Compost Pile

When you freeze and can fruits and vegetables, you end up with lots of peelings, pulp, and seeds. This kitchen waste is great for the compost pile, as it helps generate heat quickly. Your compost still may not get hot enough to kill the seeds, but if they germinate atop the pile in spring, you can halt their growth by mixing them into the middle of the pile.

Preserve Fall Foliage

You can preserve stems of aspen leaves, euonymus, sumac, cottonwood, willow, white ash, mountain ash, viburnum, and oak in glycerin. Smash the cut ends of the stems and place them in a container of 2/3 glycerin and 1/3 water. Keep the bouquet in a cool, dark spot for about a week. The leaves will take on a leathery texture and will last for years.

Give the Water Garden Daily Care

Clip and pull each lily pad as it yellows or matures. Water temperatures are cooling and water plants are beginning to go dormant. If allowed to rot, plant debris will form black slime on the bottom of the pond that will emit a harmful gas that can kill your fish and snails.

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