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 Like it or not, this is the time of year we need to be thinking of the first visit from Jack Frost.  Typically, in the Dane county area, the first killing frost occurs between October 4 to 10.  Usually we get ample warning of when a frost is going to occur, it is finding adequate covering that I usually have trouble with.  I typically get home when its dark and have to ransack the house and garage hurriedly looking for stuff that will cover my plants.

However, by preparing few covers for NOW you can be ready to quickly cover  your tender annuals, veggies, and blooming perennials and extend your season for several weeks. 

 

Remay is the cover of choice because it is light weight and breathable.  Old sheets also work, just be sure they don’t crush the plants.  Plastic sheeting will work, but be absolutely sure to remove it before the sun rises or you may bake your plants.

 

Another tip for fall is pruning.  Several deciduous trees and shrubs can be pruned once they go dormant.  Perennials can also usually be cut down once the foliage is hit by frost.  You may want to leave the foliage of perennials on through winter, however.  The foliage will help trap snow which mulches the plant’s roots.  It will also provide visual interest throughout winter, and give some shelter and possibly food for birds. Cut off the foliage in early spring before new growth begins.

 

Now is also the time to plant your spring blooming bulbs.  From early blooming crocus to late tulips and early summer alliums.  It is easy to have a succession of blooms from April to mid-June with just one planting.  Be sure to plant your bulbs at the correct depth so they overwinter okay.  A layer of mulch will also minimize thawing and freezing of the soil and keep them from starting to grow during the January thaw.