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Plant mums, bulbs and more
-- Brighten your deck, patio or garden with mums. Florist's mums aren't winter-hardy but are very tidy-looking with large flowers; they're perfect for pots. Garden mums are more wild-looking and will come back again next year. They're good for planting in the ground as perennials.
-- Plant spring-blooming bulbs now. October is the best planting time for outdoor bulbs in the Midwest. Plant in clusters of eight, 10 or more -- not only because they look best that way, but also because it speeds planting and makes it easier for you to loosen and improve the soil by adding compost or sphagnum peat moss. For details, click the link below on "How to Plant Spring-Blooming Bulbs."
-- Force bulbs for winter blooms. If you can't wait till spring for a dose of tulips, daffodils or crocuses, pot up a batch of bulbs to "force" for late-winter indoor blooms. Forcing bulbs simply involves planting spring-blooming bulbs in pots, chilling them in the fridge, and then bringing them out in January and February to grow and bloom indoors, like a houseplant. For more specifics, click the link below to "How to Force Bulbs."
-- Transplant. In the southern half of the Midwest, October is a good time to divide and plant most perennials and roses. (It's too close to winter in the northern half.) Plant trees and shrubs throughout the entire Midwest, but keep them well-watered if the fall is dry.