C O U N T R Y
C H R O N I C L E
THINGS TO DO
IN THE GARDEN
Based on gardening in the American
Heartland, late Autumn 1997. Print
this handy guide and save.
By ALLEN BOGER / Midwest Today Garden Editor
Gather ornamental grasses for dried flower arrangements.
- Induce flowering in your poinsettia by providing total darkness from 5
P.M. to 8 A.M. daily until the bracts begin to show color.
- Harvest strawflowers for drying when the blossoms are about half
open. Hang them upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area that is out of
- Gather blooms of chrysanthemums that have not been damaged by cold
temperature, remove leaves and put them in a pail of water in a cool
location for use as Thanksgiving decorations.
- Transplant evergreen trees or shrubs. Keep them watered regularly
until the ground freezes.
- Dig and pot up plants of parsley, chives, sage, and thyme from the
garden to grow on a sunny windowsill.
- Surround the trunks of fruit trees with cylinders of hardware cloth
to prevent rodents from chewing on them in Winter.
- Separate crowded lily-of-the-valley crowns. Replant three inches
- Clean up after planting bulbs. Bits of the bulb's tunic (skin) on
the soil surface leave a scent that will attract squirrels.
- Plant or transplant ferns. After planting, keep them watered
regularly until the ground is frozen.
- Dig Summer flowering bulbs such as cannas and dahlias after the tops
are damaged by frost. Dry, remove soil, and store in peat moss or
vermiculite in a cool dark location.
- Plant trees and shrubs such as arbor-vitae, ash, crabapple, honey
locust, juniper, linden, maple, pine, plum, redbud, serviceberry and
- Dig horseradish roots and trim the tops from the roots about one
inch above the crowns. Replant the smaller roots for next season's
- Pot up Spring flowering bulbs to force them into bloom indoors. Keep
the soil moist and store in a refrigerator for ten to 13 weeks before
starting them into growth.
- Reduce water and fertilizer applications to house plants as growth
slows in response to shorter days and lower light intensity.
- Spade level garden areas to make Spring planting easier and earlier.
Wait until Spring for sloped areas to prevent erosion.
- Check out your snow blower if you use one. Replace the spark plug
and prepare it for the Winter ahead.
- Visit a greenhouse or garden center and select new plants for indoor
decorations for the coming holidays.
- Finish cleaning up flower beds and the vegetable garden.
- Shape evergreens outdoors with light pruning cuts to provide
clippings for holiday decorations. Some of the best include yew, holly,
boxwood, and juniper.
- Select a site for a living Christmas tree if you plan to plant one.
Dig the planting hole before the soil freezes. Cover the hole with a piece
of 3/4-inch plywood and store the soil in a location where it won't
- Wrap the trunks of Fall-planted trees with tree wrapping material to
prevent sunscald injury during the Winter months.
- Clean, sharpen, oil and repair garden tools before storing them for
- Check firewood stored indoors for the presence of sawdust and other
indications of insect activity. It's best to store only enough indoors that
will be used up in a few days.