Gardening in October

Begin to prepare for winter by digging and storing geraniums, tuberous begonias, and dahlias.

Take green tomatoes and ripen indoors. Hard, green ones with little sign of pink might not be worth the space. Try them fried.

Clean-up flower beds and add mulch to improve the crop for next year. Soil renovations are much easier in the fall than they are in the spring.

New lawns can usually be planted through mid-October. If pushed for time, do not take shortcuts. Plant a cover crop like crimson clover and proceed in the spring.

Trees and shrubs, ground covers, hardy perennials, and especially bulbs for spring blooms (such as tulips and daffodils) should be planted this month. Nurseries and garden centers often stock up for the “Fall is for Planting” season.

Primroses and pansies can be added to a now-bare flower beds, containers and over the top of a spring bulb bed for color in the winter. Although they are often used for winter plants only, both are hardy for our “cold” winter weather and can remain in the garden from year to year.

Lawns need a fall application of food to nourish them through the rains of winter into spring. Lime is often applied in fall about every three years to adjust the pH which will make the fertilizer you use more efficient. Lime can be applied anytime, but fall rains put it into the root zone sooner than at other times during the year.

Tropical or indoor plants that come indoors for the winter should be prepped for return. Examine for pests, re-pot if necessary, and lightly fertilize if this has not been done recently.


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