GARDEN TIME with DOUG – October Gardening Tasks
FALL IS FOR PLANTING – OCTOBER IS A BEAUTIFUL MONTH TO BE LIVING IN VIRGINIA!!
I love the fall season. It is my favorite season of all. The days have become cooler and leaves are beginning to change color. What would make this time of year even more perfect is if we would have had more rainfall in September to start October. WATER, WATER, WATER!! We had less than an inch of rain in the month of September, making September one of the driest months on record ( last year we had one of the wettest September on record ). Couple this with the fact that we only had a little over 2 inches of rain in August and, needless to say, we are dry here for the start of October. So, keep those new plants watered regularly and we will be just fine to plant this time of year.
Here are a few gardening tasks to work on this month
- Fall is prime planting time for spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, hyacinths, etc.. It’s also a great month to establish and expand perennial gardens.
- Come fall there are moles, voles, rabbits, and squirrels rummaging in the garden. Fall seems to be prime time for squirrels who like to hide food to keep them plump over winter. PermaTill is a great product to add to the soil at the time of planting in order to protect roots from being eaten and to help with better drainage.
- October is the prime time to plant cool-loving pansies in the ground or in container gardens.
- October is the month that we want to feed our cool-season fescue lawns.
- October is the time to take down your hummingbird feeder. We need to encourage our beloved hummingbirds to begin migrating south for the winter.
- Keep watering newly planted plants. As I stated at the beginning we are dry. I recommend watering thoroughly the plants while they are still in their pots. Water them again as you plant. And then, keep them watered regularly.
- If you have a living poinsettia plant and you want to rebloom your poinsettia, start a “short day” treatment now. You want to limit the amount of light the poinsettia receives to only 8 hours each day for the next six to eight weeks. This tricks the poinsettia into thinking that fall is winter and Christmas is spring when they would naturally flower.
- Our average first frost date is around October 20 to 25. Before frost, pick off all your green tomatoes and store in conditions of about 60 degrees with moderate moisture, such as a basement. In four to six weeks, they will gradually begin to ripen.
- October is a good time to clean up the flower and shrub beds. No heavy pruning should be done at this time. Just trim out any dead and lightly prune back any shoots that are too long.
- Keep your herbs producing by pinching out the seed pods. Herbs such as parsley, basil, sage, and others can be used frozen or dried. Hang herbs in a cool dry place until completely dry.
ENJOY OCTOBER – IT’S A BEAUTIFUL MONTH TO BE LIVING IN VIRGINIA!!!!