WRAP UP FROM LAST MONTH
- Record: Onwards and upwards! While you remember what you did over the summer, take note of the progress that varieties of warm-weather plants, fruits, and vegetables made in your garden this year. Record both the successes and failures, so you’ll know how to adjust accordingly next year. Also take down tips that worked for you this season, as well as new ideas you have of ways to do things differently next summer.
- Spring bulbs: It may still be cold outside, but it’s the month to think spring. If you purchased any bulbs last month, get them out of storage. If you didn’t, take the time to find spring bulbs perfect for your garden. Spring bulbs planted in October will be ready to emerge once the weather warms back up.
- Fall staples: Festive fall vegetables make great eating! After harvesting autumn staples like pumpkins, butternut and hubbard squash, immediately cure these vegetables at temperatures between 70° and 80°F. Once two or three weeks have passed, this produce does best when stored in a dry location between 55° and 60°F.
- Protect: At this point, even more tender flowers need to be cleaned, dried, and brought inside. Dig up plants like cannas, dahlias and gladiolus if they can’t withstand colder weather. Once the forecast posts temperatures less than 50°F, save tomatoes by ripening them indoors. Sunny rooms that don’t need to be heated during the winter are ideal for plant storage.
DO NOW: OCTOBER GARDENING TIPS
- Wildflowers: Add some local flavor to your lawn. Seed native wildflowers now if you have room in your yard for a small meadow. Poppies, clarkias, lupines, collinsias are good varieties to plant when considering replacements for annuals, perennials, and shrubs.
- Maintenance: After two or three harsh frosts, plants hearty enough to remain outdoors need maintenance. The leaves of herbaceous perennials will turn brown; cut the stems and foliage when this happens. Add another thin layer of mulch consisting of straw or leaves to perennials.
- Leaves: Speaking of leaves…hate raking? Everyone does. There are other ways of dealing with the autumn onslaught of leaves. Mulching blades on lawnmowers cut fallen foliage up so leaves are at a size where they can naturally decompose in your yard. Add a bag that collects some of these shredded leaves if you need mulch for your perennials.
- Weeds: Dealing with weeds is a constant battle, but clearing your yard of them so your favorite plants get the spotlight is worth it in the end. Broadleaf weeds can become a problem during autumn. Rid your yard of white clover, dandelion and ground ivy before they take over.
- Pests and disease: Nature can be rather inconvenient. While winter threatens precious plant life, pests and disease have ways of surviving throughout the colder months. Destroy traces of both so your spring gardening plans aren’t interrupted by infestation. For example, evergreen shrubs unfortunately attract bagworms. Pick these pests from your plants to prevent a batch of eggs from hatching come spring.
- Ponds: Outdoor ponds are beautiful outdoor features. Remember to take care of them so they look their best. Leaves shouldn’t be allowed to fall in garden ponds; stretch a net across the surface of the pond to prevent having to clean leaves out. Active fish in ponds still need to be fed. Until January, you can also add bream to your pond and lime the bottom if necessary.
PREPARING FOR NEXT MONTH
- Christmas cacti: Love Christmas cacti? These festive plants will bear beautiful blooms in December if they are cared for properly. Cacti thrive in a climate that ranges between 50° and 60° F. Alternatively, cacti can survive if kept in a dark environment for 13 hours every night.
- Trees and shrubs: If you’re interested in adding any more trees or shrubs to your yard, plan ahead. To reduce the need for aggressive pruning, consider where you have room in your yard for mature, large plants. Browse available plants now before they’re picked over. It’s wonderful to have a Christmas tree in the yard, but a few steps need to be taken first. Dig a hole and ready a site so no more work is required after a great tree has been found.