New England

October, 2000
Regional Report

Harvest Brussels Sprouts

Now that the cool fall air is upon us, it\'s time to start harvesting brussels sprouts before the sprouts split. Check along the stem of the plants, and starting from the bottom of the stem, snap off the round sprouts that have formed. To encourage more production, top off the plant so it sends more energy into forming sprouts and less into growing leaves.

Start New Gardens


Now is a great time to mark out new gardens you'll be planning for spring. Depending on your time and ambition, you can rent a sod stripper and remove the grass, amend the soil with compost, and till it in. If you don't have that much time, cover the area with black plastic, anchor it down with bricks and rocks, and leave it over winter. In spring the grass underneath the plastic will be dead, and you can till it into the soil.

Layer Bulbs

If you have only a small area for spring-flowering bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, consider layering the planting. Plant the largest bulbs (e.g., daffodils) about 8 inches deep in the hole. Cover them with a layer of soil and plant the next largest diameter bulbs (e.g., tulips) on top. Cover them and finally top off the hole with the smallest bulbs (e.g., crocus). Cover with soil and mulch.

Cut Back Perennials


It's time to put your perennial flower gardens to bed for the winter. Cut back perennials to about 6 inches from the soil line and compost the tops. Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost over the beds for winter. To protect tender perennials from cold winds, consider mulching or laying pine boughs on the bed.

Clean Out Irrigation Pipes

If you have drip irrigation tubes or hoses outside, blow the water out of the tubes now and bring them into a sheltered area. Any water left in pipes over the winter will freeze and possibly damage the tubes. Drain garden hoses and bring them into a garage or shed to protect them from damaging winter weather.

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