Northern & Central Midwest
Harvest Winter Squash at the Right Time
Winter squashes and pumpkins are ripening now. Don't be tempted to pick them until their rinds are sufficiently hardened. Otherwise, their storage ability may be compromised. Poke the rind gently with your fingernail. If the rind gives to pressure, don't pick yet. Wait until you can't puncture the rind.
Continue harvesting herbs for drying, such as sage, oregano, thyme, and basil. Dry in a dark place with plenty of air circulation, or use a dehydrator. Store the leaves whole and crush only when using them to keep the best flavor. Pot up chives, oregano, basil, and rosemary for winter windowsill use.
Mid-September to mid-October is the ideal time to plant garlic for next year's harvest. This gives the bulbs time to develop roots before going into dormancy for the winter. Dig a trench 1 to 2 inches deep, sprinkle with blood meal or soybean meal, and plant the bulbs 3 to 5 inches apart.
Save Your Geraniums
Think about saving those geraniums now. You can pot up the plants and keep them on a windowsill, take cuttings to start new plants, or store them with bare roots. Make sure to examine them carefully before bringing them in. Two applications of insecticidal soap will get rid of any hitchhikers.
Begin watering evergreens now to take them into winter, especially if you've had a dry summer. Evergreens will suffer if they have no moisture to draw from during the winter. Water slowly and deeply in the outer perimeter of the crown where most of the water-absorbing roots lie.