Western Mountains and High Plains

October, 2006
Regional Report

Store Tender Bulbs

Now that the frost has killed back the tops of dahlias, begonias, and gladiolus, it's time to lift these tender bulbs from the soil. Use a spading fork to dig them. Trim away dead leaves, shake off excess soil, and put the bulbs in vegetable boxes from the supermarket, which have a waxy coating. Or use regular cardboard boxes lined with wax paper. Place in a cool basement or insulated garage.

Watch for Firewood Pests

Listen and watch for beetles in firewood. You can hear them chomping and see deposits of fine sawdust around woodpiles. If this becomes a problem, cover the woodpile with clear plastic to cook them. Othewise, burning the wood this winter will get rid of the problem. (By the way, these beetles won't attack your furniture.)

Sod Bare Patches

As long as the ground is not frozen solid, you still have time to patch up those bare spots in your lawn. Since it's too late to seed grasses, purchase rolls of sod that already have well-established roots. Cut the sod to fit the areas that have died out. Sod will root within a few short weeks.

Clean out the Birdbath

It's time to clean the birdbath and set it out for wild birds that spend the winter here. Water can be scarce in late fall and winter, so keep the birdbath supplied for feathered friends. Use a birdbath de-icer to keep the water from freezing.

Pot Up Leftover Bulbs

If you have some extra hyacinths, tulips, or daffodils lying around, pot them up in clay bulb pots. Use a well-draining potting soil and water them thoroughly. Set the potted bulbs in a cool spot, such as the window well, and cover them with mulch. Water when the soil dries out. You can bring them indoors within six to eight weeks for early spring blooms.

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