Mid-Atlantic

October, 2005
Regional Report

Harvest Apples

Harvest apples as they ripen, packing them gently into storage boxes to avoid bruising the fruits. Store in a cool location but above freezing. Pick the tree clean. Also pick up and remove windfall apples from the ground to prevent any unwelcome pests or diseases from carrying over to next year.

Wait to Plant Bulbs

If you plant spring-blooming bulbs while the soil is still warm, they may begin growing prematurely. Wait until the soil has cooled to about 60 degrees, then plant. In the meantime, store bulbs at room temperature in a dry location with good air circulation -- never in a closed plastic bag.

Leave Summer Bulbs Until Frost

Wait until frost kills back the tops, then cut back the stalks and gently dig up summer bulbs, such as cannas, dahlias, and gladiolus, for storage. This allows them to grow until the last possible moment and minimizes the time they spend in storage.

Test Your Soil

As things wind down, take a little time to collect soil samples and send them off for that often-neglected chore: soil testing. Find out if your soil is acid or alkaline; whether or not it is rich in nutrients; and if you need to supplement, how much. Testing is much more accurate than guessing!

Collect Leaves for Mulch

Fallen autumn leaves are an excellent source of organic matter to use for soil improvement, as well as a great mulch material free for the collecting. Don't let them go to waste! If desired, chop them up with the lawn mower, a weed whacker set inside a trash can, or a chipper shredder.

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