October is here! The leaves have turned from green to marvelous shades of red and gold, and in some cases have begun to fall.
But even though the weather is getting colder, there’s still plenty you can do with your garden. In fact, the cooler temperatures can help make October gardening a joy. Here are a few October gardening chores you should focus on this time of year.
1. Take care of your leaves
Changing leaves look lovely when they’re still on their trees. When they die off and land on your property, that’s a different story.
Accumulating fallen leaves can damage your lawn, and present a slip hazard for your walkways, deck, and driveway.
Collect them with a rake, cut them into small pieces with a leaf vacuum or lawn mower, and then use them in your compost pile or as a mulch. Talk to your neighbors about collaborating on renting a chipper or shredder to get rid of any branches, stems or limbs you want to turn into mulch.
2. Planting spring bulbs
Mid-October is a great time to begin planting bulbs that will flower in the spring. You can keep this up until the middle of November (or later if the ground isn’t frozen).
Use bulb fertilizer instead of bone meal in the planting holes and protect the bulbs from pests by surrounding them with wire poultry cages. A visit to your local plant nursery can help you decide which bulbs will work best.
3. Moving plants indoors
This is the time of year when you’ll want to move any tropical houseplants that you’ve been keeping outside indoors.
Trim the plants, remove any weeds and fallen leaves from the soil, and give the plants a gentle spray with your hose to get rid of insects.
You can submerge smaller plants in water for 15 minutes to wash away insects. With larger potted plants, immerse the base of the pot in water to get rid of any insects hiding in the soil.
Once you have plants indoors, keep them in a room that stays relatively cool, which will prevent you from having to water them as often.
Other seasonal tasks
Other October gardening chores include:
- Putting hoses away for the season. Make sure you drain the water from them before they freeze, then coil them up and store them in a shed, garage or basement during the winter. You should also drain your outdoor faucets and close their shut-off valves.
- You can plant shrubs and trees during this time of year. Their roots will grow until the ground begins to freeze.
- Unless you’re in the midst of a fall drought, cut back on watering your landscape plants. If rains are scarce, then you’ll naturally want to keep to your watering schedule.
- Continue to mow the lawn as long as the grass keeps growing, but with the mower blades at their highest level.
- October is a good time to reseed parts of your yard that have gotten thin and to apply herbicides to help control weeds. You local garden nursery can advise you on which herbicides perform the best.
Are you looking for other ways to care for your garden in the fall? Mendham Garden Center can help. At our garden centers, you’ll find the tools and the expertise to help you with your October gardening chores and other activities throughout the year. We look forward to seeing you at one of our three New Jersey locations.