Can I still plant some tulip bulbs?

As long as the ground is not frozen you can plant these anytime in the fall. Dig the holes 8 to 10 inches deep so the squirrels will not find the loose dirt and dig for the bulbs. A fellow gardener suggested putting a layer of cedar wood chips over the area where you planted them, after you have watered the bulbs well. If you try this idea, please let me know how it works for you.

Can I prune back my raspberry canes at this time?

This is a good time to prune raspberry canes back to about 6 inches. Ed Tasler from Jeffers uses a small tractor with a mower underneath to do this pruning every year, with good success.

Can I overwinter my geraniums in an unheated garage and expect them to grow again next spring?

Definitely not, as the geraniums will freeze. They need to be taken to your basement and placed in the coolest (non-freezing) area possible. Quit watering them almost completely until next February. At that time take the plants out of the container, prune back to about 3 to 4 inches in height, and replant in a clean container with fresh potting soil.

Will my strawberries in containers overwinter outside?

Your strawberries will freeze if left outside with no water and no protection. Dig these plants in containers into the soil of your garden, to the top of the container, and water well. After a couple of hard freezes, cover them with clean straw for protection this winter. After it warms up next spring, dig the containers out of the garden and put them where you want them for the summer.

Will I need to cover my perennial hibiscus for the winter season?

If you get little snow, adding some mulch, straw, wood chips or ditch hay will offer these plants some protection. Add the material after your area has received several hard freezes.

The soil in my garden was very hard this season. What can I use to loosen up the soil?

Get some bags of peat moss and apply it on your garden. Till the peat moss in yet this fall if possible. You may want to apply several more inches of peat moss again next spring, followed by more tillage.

If I were to plant some cool-temperature crops in my garden — radishes, carrots and early onions — will they mature before freeze-up time?

If we have a late fall without any hard frost, this is something you may want to try. Some gardeners have better luck in the fall than they do in the spring.


Hank Wessels is a Master Gardener in Watonwan County. He welcomes questions and comments from readers. He may be reached at 601 1st St. SW, Madelia, MN 56062 or (507) 642-8479.

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