New England

October, 2007
Regional Report

Clean Tools and Pots

Begin preparing tools for storage. Clean the soil off shovels, spades, and trowels using a rag or wire brush, then wipe blades with an oiled cloth. Make sure pruners are free from dirt and plant debris, and wipe down the blades with the oiled cloth. Empty pots of dead plants and soil, adding the debris to the compost pile unless the plants were diseased. In that case, dispose of the plants in the garbage or a location far away from your garden. Rinse pots.

Prepare Soil for Next Year's Roses

Roses need a well-loosened and amended soil, so prepare the soil now for spring planting. If the bed is in a low spot, add coarse sand and topsoil to raise the level. Then mix in peat moss for a little acidity, compost or peat moss for aeration, and manure or cottonseed meal for nitrogen.

Mulch Cold-Hardy Root Vegetables

If you have a proper root cellar or another method of storing root vegetables, go ahead and harvest them. If you don't, then wait to harvest. Instead, cover mature plantings of carrots, beets, and parsnips with a thick layer of straw. This will insulate the soil and prevent the ground from freezing, and you'll be able to harvest fresh produce into early winter by moving aside the straw and digging the roots.

Water New Plantings

Continue to water newly planted trees and shrubs until the ground freezes. Although above-ground temperatures are cooling, the soil is still warm, and roots will continue to grow well into fall.

Clean Up Under Fruit Trees

Dispose of rotting fruit on the ground and mummified fruit still on the trees to reduce disease. Rake up and dispose of fall leaves beneath fruit trees.

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