Northern & Central Midwest

October, 2005
Regional Report

Give Asparagus a Little TLC

Take care of your asparagus. As soon as the tops have yellowed, cut them down, chop and compost them. Weed the bed thoroughly and as soon as the ground freezes solid, add an organic mulch of shredded leaves or straw 3 or 4 inches deep.

Winterize Chrysanthemums

After chrysanthemum flowers have turned brown, mound soil up over the bottom of the plant to about 8 inches deep. Cut back the stems, leaving only 2 inches exposed above the soil. When the ground freezes hard, add 2 inches of organic mulch, such as shredded leaves.

Mulch Root Crops

If you plan to keep your root crops in the ground for harvest through the winter, be sure to add deep mulch now before the ground begins to freeze. A straw bale is ideal because you can lift it when you want to harvest. Otherwise, dig and bring the root crops into a cool, damp basement.

Take Care of Summer Bulbs

Shortly after a killing frost, lift dahlias and cannas. Cut back the foliage to about 4 inches and lift the tubers with a garden fork. Shake off soil and dry tubers in a warm place. Do not separate; place in boxes lined with newspaper and filled with slightly damp peat moss. Store between 45 and 55 degrees F.

Add Panache to Your Garden With Early-Blooming Bulbs

Consider planting small early-blooming bulbs now. Winter aconite, snowdrops, grape hyacinth, wood hyacinth, Grecian windflower, giant snowflake, striped squill, Siberian squill, and checkered lily will add a touch of elegance to your bulb display, not to mention the fact that they bring us out of the winter doldrums by blooming early.

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