Northern & Central Midwest

October, 2006
Regional Report

Protect Woodies From Rodents and Deer

Keep rabbits, rodents, and deer away from woody plants. If deer have been a problem in the past, surround valuable plants with snow fencing or garden netting. Keep rabbits and rodents out of the garden by eliminating habitats, and surround tree and shrub trunks with hardware cloth that extends well above the snow line.

Mulch Your Root Crops

To keep harvesting leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, beets, and turnips, lay straw bales on top of the plants. This allows you to simply lift a bale and continue harvesting into early winter. Another option is to dig a trench and place harvested vegetables in the trench. Then cover with straw bales.

Clean Up Garden Debris

After a hard frost (about 28 degrees F), clear out all dead plant material from the vegetable garden and toss on the compost pile. Then add about 2 inches of organic material, such as compost, composted manure, or shredded leaves, and rototill into the soil. If desired, plant a winter crop.

Bring Geraniums Indoors

To keep geraniums over the winter, repot them and bring them inside to a sunny windowsill. Prune the plants back to about 1/3 and water and fertilize lightly. Or bring the pots into the basement and let them go dormant. You can also dig the plants, shake off the soil, and hang them in a paper bag in the basement.

Prevent Snow Mold on Lawns

Prevent snow mold problems on the lawn by cleaning up fallen leaves and debris. If the lawn is tall, give it a final mowing. These methods will also help prevent damage by rodent trails. Also, get rid of rodent habitats by clearing out all garden debris around the lawn that might serve as overwintering spots.

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