Northern & Central Midwest

October, 2009
Regional Report

Prepare Lawn for Winter

Prepare your lawn for winter by cleaning up leaves and debris. If it's not dormant yet, give it one last mowing to avoid snow mold. Lawns left long and covered with debris for the winter are prime candidates for snow mold and rodent damage.

Pick Green Tomatoes

Pick mature green tomatoes with a glossy, whitish green fruit color and mature size before frost occurs. Pick only those fruits free of damage and remove stems to prevent them from puncturing each other. Store in boxes, 1 to 2 layers deep, or in plastic bags with a few holes for air circulation.

Plant Bulbs

There's still time to plant bulbs. Even if the air is frosty, the soil is still relatively warm and the roots will get a good start. Be sure to water in well and mulch after planting. Save fertilizing until after blooming in spring. Protect with netting when planting if critters are a problem.

Clean Tools

Clean garden tools every time you put them away. You never know if it's the last time of the season. Wipe off any mud, sharpen if necessary, and wipe with a fine coating of oil. Hang tools instead of resting them on the ground to avoid rusting and corrosion.

Store Seeds Well

Store seeds in clean, airtight containers or in small paper bags in the bottom drawer of your refrigerator. Paper bags allow the moisture to escape from the seed, so mold and rot is less likely. Clearly label the containers with the name of the plant and the date and place of its collection.

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