Annuals and Perennials
Spring blooming bulbs are in stock. Now is the time to plant iris, tulips, crocus, daffodils and many other spring blooming bulbs.
If you have squirrels and chipmunks in your garden, try planting daffodils, allium and hyacinth bulbs. Squirrels will not eat these.
If you want bulbs but do not have a lot of space in your garden, you can plant bulbs in containers. If your containers are in an exposed area, wrap them up with an insulating material such as bubble wrap or burlap to protect them from harsh weather.
Dig up gladiolus. To do so, remove the tops and let them dry for two weeks. Dust them with Sulfur, then store in dry peat moss or vermiculite at room temperature.
Aster, goldenrod and tickseed are in bloom and can be planted now. These hardy perennials are dormant through winter and will return with blooms every summer.
Transplant or divide peonies at this time, if you wish to do so.
Fruits and Vegetables
Warm Season Vegetables
Pick the largest, almost ripe green tomatoes, just before the frost. Put them in a brown paper bag with some apples and they will ripen as sweet as if on the vine.
Remove all old vines of beans, squash, etc. to the compost pile and then spade or till the garden.
Cool Season Vegetables
You can still plant garlic and onions for harvest next year.
Garden Bed Care
Plant winter rye or red clover in any bare, exposed ground spots. This will assist in erosion prevention, the conservation of nutrients, and add organic matter back into the soil.
Transitioning Houseplants Indoors
Bring any houseplants you took outside for the summer indoors before the cool weather hits. Spray them first with Bayer Rose & Flower Insect Killer, Bonide Eight or Neem oil to control aphids, mites and other insects that may be on the plants.
Houseplants for Fall and Winter
There are many easy to care for plants that you can add to your home to liven up your space before winter arrives. Aloe, philodendron, pothos, snake plant and spider plant are just a few.
Keep your indoor plants healthy and vibrant with full spectrum plant lights. Additional lighting is especially helpful as each day gets a bit shorter.
Fertilize your houseplants every 2-4 weeks with a water soluble fertilizer such as Jack’s Classic or Osmocote through November, then slow down your feeding schedule until February.
October is a great time to lime, seed and fertilize your lawn. You can seed a new lawn in early October or reseed (overseed) an established lawn this month to make it thicker and healthier.
Weed Prevention and Control
Now is also a good time to control weeds growing in the lawn, however you cannot weed kill and seed the same day. You will need to wait until any new seed has germinated and been mowed at least twice before applying a weed killer.
Prevent winter annual weeds from germinating in the lawn by applying a weed preventer such as Gallery in early October. Avoid this if you plan to seed now. You will have to wait 60 days to seed, which means you would probably need to wait until spring to seed the lawn.
Aerate and/or dethatch your lawn prior to seeding if the thatch is more than ½ inch thick. Water the soil a day or two before you plan to aerate or rototill (for a total renovation) or start your project a day or two after a good rain.
Use Merrifield Select 14-18-14 to fertilize your lawn when seeding. It is high in phosphorus, which aids in germination and encourages strong root development. Follow-up with Merrifield Premium 24-0-12 in November or December.
Trees and Shrubs
Fall Blooms and Foliage
Encore azaleas bloom now and again in spring, while sasanqua camellias bloom in November and December.
There are many native trees and shrubs that have beautiful fall foliage. Dogwood, red maple and black gum to add red color and fringe tree, redbud and river birch for yellow hues.
Fall is a great time to plant, as the cooler weather provides ideal growing conditions, and give roots ample time to grow into the surrounding soil before the hot weather comes back.
Container grown trees will often have roots growing in a circular pattern. When planting, use your fingers or hand cultivator to pull these roots out into an outward direction when planting into the ground to promote their establishment into the surrounding soil.
Pine trees, false cypress, arborvitae and other evergreens shed their interior needles and branchlets in October. This is a normal part of their growth cycle – no need to be alarmed!
October is not a good month to prune trees and shrubs. Azaleas, rhododendrons and other spring flowering shrubs have already set their buds for spring, and pruning deciduous and evergreen trees at this time may cause them to put out vulnerable new growth just before the cold weather hits.