Seasonal Care of the Garden
Keep shrubs & trees well watered if rainfall is lacking
Fall is for planting. Early October is a good time to plant deciduous trees & shrubs,
once they have begun to drop their leaves. Note that there are a few exceptions.
Beeches, birches, dogwoods, Japanese maples, magnolias, & hollies are better planted in spring
If fertilization is needed, wait until soil temperatures drop & grow slows, indicated by leaf drop
Mulch rhododendrons & azaleas late in month or in November after ground begins to freeze.
Mulching while the ground is still soft invites mice and voles to set up snug winter condos,
from where they'll girdle the trunks and eat the shrubs' roots.When available,
oak leaves and pine needles are the best choice.
Keep beds weeded & cultivated. Water perennials if weather is dry
Begin fall cleanup of borders after heavy frost. Prune spent foliage on perennials.
Note: Do not compost foliage from peonies, summer phlox, or beebalm, which is likely to have mildew
Wait until ground is well frozen before mulching perennials
A Few Flowers for October
Aconitum carmichaelii, monk's hood
Anemone x hybrida
Chrysanthemum x morifolium, chrysanthemum
Tricyrtis hirta, T. macrantha, toad lily
Continue planting bulbs, saving tulips for last. Pot some early tulips and daffodils for forcing
After black frost, dig tender bulbs such as canna, gladiola, & dahlias, & prepare them for winter storage.
A Few October Flowering Bulbs
Colchicum autumnale, C. speciosum, naked ladies
Crocus speciosus, fall crocus
Dahlia pinnata, dahlia (July until frost)
Sow winter rye as cover crop, once vegetable plants are cleared from the garden.
Fresh manure can be applied to bare ground from now through January/early February.
Harvest pumpkins & winter squash before frost, leave a short stem on each one for better storage.
Floating row covers will provide protection from light frosts.
Apply a thick, airy mulch over leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, beets, turnips & parsnips for harvest well into winter.
Dig potatoes in late September or early October after tops have died down.
If you have a cool, sunny window, dig & pot parsley, chives, thyme, & marjoram for winter use.
Plant garlic & shallots for harvesting next spring.
Keep mowing grass until growth stops.
Rake leaves, especially from lawns & ground covers, adding them to compost heap.
Apply lime if soil test indicates it is necessary.
Compost leaves and weeds but avoid mildew-prone foliage of peonies, phlox, and beebalm.
When frosty nights arrive, turn off outside water at the indoor valve. Remember to open outdoor faucet so water can drain, but remember to back it off about 1/8 turn to avoid compressing the gasket.
Empty soil from glazed and clay pots, and move them under cover. They can crack and / or spall if left outdoors wet and frozen.
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