Tips for October Gardening

Keeping busy in the garden in October isn’t hard, especially since it seems like the summers are getting longer.  I know some people call it “Indian summer”, but I remember temperatures in Central New York were guaranteed to drop by mid-September and we’d have had a couple frosts by mid-October.  However the past few years have been very mild right into November, and I love it!  There’s no better time to be out in the garden than right now, mild temperatures, no humidity, and less bugs makes it super easy to clean-up, and plan for next year.  Like many others in the gardening “blogosphere” I’ve put together some chores I’m tending to this month, with hopes of providing some tips to those of you who are still gardening in October.

  • Now is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials, grass seed and sod.
  • Divide and transplant perennials such as, Peonies, Astilbe, Bleeding Heart, Hastas, etc…
  • You can most likely expect a frost this month, so dig Gladiolus bulbs before the frost hits, and I like to cut and dig Dahlia tubers right after the first “killing” frost. Get some quick tips on digging and storing Gladiolus bulbs & Dahlia Tubers here:
  • Replace “holes” left when Dahlia & Gladiolus were dug with Mums & other fall hearty plants such as Flowering Kale, Pansies, Flowering Cabbage, etc…
  • Speaking of frost, you should start thinking about bringing in all of you houseplants.
  • Spring flowering bulbs are out, get them early for “the pick of the litter” I think it's a bit early to put them in the ground, but it's a judgment call at this point.
  • Now that you have your bulbs, it’s a great time to pot up bulbs you want to force indoors.
  • Turn your compost, and add a bit of water if it has been dry.
  • With leaves falling or getting ready to fall, and organic materials being cut every day you should think about where you’re going to put this year’s compost pile.
  • Prune and weed, and prune and weed some more.  The more pruning and weeding you do now the better off you’ll be in the spring!

So that’s a list of 10 October chores I’m working on at the moment.  Many of these chores have carried over from September, and I’ll most likely be doing some of them to begin November.  Just remember that chores that are done now make your spring gardening much easier, and the spring gardens that much nicer.  Don’t forget to get out and grab up some pumpkins, gourds, and other colorful organics for fall decorating!

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