Northern & Central Midwest

November, 2001
Regional Report

Clean and Repair Garden Tools

Before storing tools for the winter, clean and repair them so you are ready to go in the spring. File or sand off splinters on wooden handles and oil the handles well. Sharpen spades, hoes and pruners. Oil moving parts and blades of all tools, including spades, shovels, hoes and rakes.

Bring in Chemicals Before a Hard Freeze

Store garden chemicals in a place where they will not freeze, and especially out of the reach of children. Many garden chemicals and fertilizers can be rendered ineffective if frozen. Also bring in organic fertilizers and amendments to keep them from rodent damage through the winter.

Make Final Garden Notes

While the weather is still reasonable and you can still see your plants, take a cup of tea and notebook and wander the garden. Record your successes, failures and tips for next year. You may assume you will remember, but it's amazing how much you will forget over the winter.

Deciduous Trees and Shrubs Can Still Be Planted

Bareroot trees and shrubs will still have plenty of time to begin establishing themselves before winter. Be sure to dig a hole two to three times the size of the root spread, fill with the same soil you removed from the hole and immediately apply three to four inches of mulch.

Reduce the Water and Fertilizer on Indoor Plants

Most houseplants begin a semi-dormancy as the days shorten. They need much less fertilizer and usually less water unless the heat in your home dries them out. The exceptions to this tip are winter bloomers such as jasmine and orchids. Remember that there are no hard-and-fast rules. Only you will know what your plants need.

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