I do believe Fall is the busiest season in the garden. There is plenty to do but the weather typically makes it very pleasant to do them.
As I’d mentioned last week, I’ve already taken care of some big tasks. But those were specific to my garden. The comprehensive list below is one that should generally serve all gardens. Get cracking!
Things To Do In October
1. Yes, weeding continues!
2. Time to plant perennials and trees. Give a good dose of compost to each. Water regularly. Perennials already in place can be divided and planted out as well.
3. Cut back all spent plants except what is needed for seasonal interest and feeding wildlife.
4. Collect seeds. Store in labeled envelopes in a cool, dry space.
5. Last call to root cuttings of geraniums, coleus, rosemary etc.,
6. Get all pots of tender perennials into clean greenhouse or other winter shelters. Wash plants and pots thoroughly first – minimizes pest infestation.
7. Plant bulbs as weather gets consistently cooler. Bulbs can be planted until soil freezes solid.
8. Rake leaves where necessary. Add to compost pile or deposit in woods. Otherwise, let fallen leaves be to provide shelter to critters and protect soil. The leaves will eventually break down to enrich the soil.
9. Give compost heap a good stir.
10 Clean out vegetable garden except for cool weather plants that are still producing. Apply several inches of compost on cleared beds. Plant green manure to enrich the soil – optional.
11. Clean and put away (or cover) outdoor furniture.
12. Check what needs repairing, repainting, replacing and get to it!
13. Lift tender bulbs, corms and tubers such dahlias, cannas etc.,. Store in dry, frost-free place. If grown in pots, simply cut down the plant and move the pots into a sheltered space like a garage or basement – water occasionally through the winter just to prevent desiccation of the tubers. In spring, bring pots outside, feed them well and kick start the growth.
14. Drain and close all outdoor water faucets. Empty rain barrel and hoses. Store.
15 Clean all equipment and tools. Store neatly. Get blades and such sharpened.
16. As temperatures plummet, protect tender shrubs and immovable frost sensitive pots and statuary. I cover the former with burlap and for the latter, I first cover with sturdy plastic and then use burlap so it looks halfway decent.
17. Remove suckers from ornamental and fruit trees. Prune roses and wisteria. Remove dead and decaying limbs from all plants.
18. Fill up bird feeders. Keep them filled through the winter. Put up nest boxes for the spring.
19. Get into the autumnal spirit – fill window boxes and urns with seasonal plants and produce.
20. Bring in flowers like hydrangea, seed heads and foliage for seasonal themed arrangements.
21. Take time to enjoy the fall colors and beauty. This is a particularly lovely season.
(c) 2023 Shobha Vanchiswar
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