Garden Calendar For October - What To Do

By: Marshall Clewis


In Northern United States and Canada
After a killing frost there will be much clean-up work to do. In addition to collecting fallen leaves, and their transfer to the compost heap, the gardener will need to gather together such trash as Dahlia tops, Corn stalks and the stems and foliage of frost-killed perennials and annuals. Destroy any of this material that is known to harbor soil-borne pests and diseases. Put all the rest onto the compost pile.
The lifting of Summer bulbs that were not dug last month should not be delayed. Tuberous Begonias and Gladioli may be lifted before killing frost, all other kinds immediately following. Prepare areas for planting trees and shrubs and proceed with planting bulbs, except Tulips, as fast they can be obtained. Toward the end of the month, or even earlier in the northern parts of the region, you may plant deciduous trees and shrubs.
Remove garden furniture to its Winter storage quarters. Clean, oil and put away for Winter all tools and implements as their season's usefulness ends. Mound soil around the bases of Roses to provide Winter protection, but don't do this until as late as possible before the ground freezes to a depth that makes the job impracticable to do. Rest Christmas Cacti during this month and the early part of next by withholding water and allowing the soil to become quite dry.
In the South
There is still time to sow Rye Grass lawns. Cuttings of Camellias and other evergreens planted in a mixture of peat moss and sand in a greenhouse or cold frame give good results if taken now. Except in the lower South, where they should be fertilized once more, cease feeding Roses.
Dig roots of Whitloof Chicory, plant them closely together in boxes of sand or sandy soil and place them in a cool cellar or coldframe until they are needed for forcing. Lift Celery and plant it closely together in a coldframe. Water it well and shade it to keep it dark. Protect the frame from severe cold by covering them. Rake leaves from lawns before they mat down, and exclude air and light. At the last mowing cut the grass at a height of two inches, not lower. Mulch the soil around Boxwood and other evergreens with a layer three or four inches thick of compost, well rotted manure, peat moss or similar protective material.
Install guards of small-mesh wire netting around trunks of young trees to prevent rabbits from girdling the bark during winter. Where Amaryllis are grown outdoors October is a good time to lift, separate and replant bulbs that are crowded. It is not necessary to cut back their foliage. Plant late Winter and Spring-flowering bulbs of all kinds.
If dry weather prevails be sure to water well Azaleas, Camellias and other evergreens. Clean off the tops of perennials that are through blooming. Burn the debris if it carries soil-borne diseases or pests, otherwise consign it to the compost heap. This is an excellent time to lift, divide and replant old perennials and to plant new ones. In the deep South sow seeds of hardy annuals, Kinds to sow include Calendulas, Sweet Alyssum, Larkspurs, Lupines, Petunias, Stocks and Snapdragons.
On the West Coast
This is the ideal time to sow new lawns and to recondition old ones. This means grass lawns. Lawns of Dichondra should not be planted until Spring. Spring-flowering bulbs, such as Narcissi, Crocus, Anemones, Ranunculus, Hyacinths, four o'clock, Spanish Irises, Dutch Iris, English Iris, Oxalis and, where they are hardy, Freesias, Watsonias, Lachenalias, Ixias and Babianas, may now be planted. For now, i am planting four o'clock flowers in my garden.
Lift and store for the Winter Summer-flowering bulbs and tubers that go dormant at this season. Here belong Tuberous Begonias, Caladiums and Gladioli. Bulbs of Lilies may be planted this month. Lift, divide and reset perennials. Plant new perennials. Set out young plants of Snapdragons, Pansies, Cineraries and other annuals.

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Various methods have been published on four o'clock flowers. Most of these methods can be found on our evergrowing library at www.zone10.com/four-oclock-flowers.html.

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