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OCTOBER - Garden Tasks

It's not too late to do these garden tasks... if your weather is like ours, we are having  gorgeous sunny days with crisp fall mornings and a smattering of frost.

PLANT BULBS:(more here)

        Daffodils, Hyacinth, Crocus - plant in late               September and on... 

      Tulips: later in fall... until the ground freezes

DIG DAHLIAS: (more here)

MAKE A MAP:  label all plants so when Spring comes, you will remember what is where 

KEEP A JOURNAL: Decide what worked and what didn’t; where you bought it, if there was a guarantee, keep the receipt..(see more about journals)

DIVIDE PERENNIALS: Hosta, Phlox, Lilies, Siberian Iris

MOVE PLANTS: the only time to move clematis & honeysuckle -  cut back by half if  large. (if you are moving a rose ...)

PLANT: Icicle Pansies…. Last to go in Fall, first to come up in Spring

PLANT SEEDS: like Poppies and Cosmos - often will come up in Spring if spread  in Fall

PLANT: Garlic in sun with manure and mulch…. Should be ready when cherry tomatoes are.

PLANT: Evergreen trees and shrubs  

WATER: all trees and shrubs well until ground freeze.  Their roots use water all winter

As you know, there is a difference between a frost and a ground freeze.

Hill up your roses after the first GROUND FREEZE.  They need that hard frost to send all the nutrients back to the root.  It could be mid-November - If you hill them up too soon, the warmth of the sun, and the  early morning frost, will create a cozy environment for wee critters, and root rot.  So wait.

CLEAN UP GARDEN: Leave your plants to cut back until Spring except for:


Clean up all fallen, diseased leaves and put them in the garbage, not the compost as that will spread any disease or bacteria

Trim any dead, broken or diseased branches from shrubs or plants.

After the Hosta turn to mush, cut them back and clean them up.  If you leave the mushy leaves on the ground, it is a great place for slugs.

NO BURLAP WRAPS ON SHRUBS: if you are worried about breakage from wind, then surround them with stakes and fasten the burlap to the stakes so the burlap does not touch the shrub tissue which could then coat with snow and ice.


Grasses, Echinacea (and those with seed heads for the wee birds), Hydrangeas, Russian Sage, Lavender, and other perennials with woody or strong stems.   You many like your garden "tidy" in the  fall, but think like a plant... they need all the help they can get with nutrients and better to use what they have than having to add fertilizers all season. 

COMPOSTING: Any time is a good time, but especially in Fall. It is good insulation and will sink into the ground with the fall and spring rains. (see also SOIL)

MULCH: always a good idea.  Mulch as soon as the ground freezes. Any earlier and some unwanted guests will bed down for the winter…. Moles and mice.

It keeps the cold in the ground so that fluctuating temperatures are moderated protecting tender roots from freezing during cold snaps and thawing in mild spells… keeps the ground in a dormancy state.

The first year, add about 3 inches… second year, an inch will do.  Hemlock will decompose faster, as will cedar. 

Arborist wood chips are the best.

But large bark chips can harbour unwanted insects and slugs and let water run off instead of soaking in.


Dig up tender tubers (Dahlia, Agapanthus, Acidanthera etc),place in paper bag and store in dark, dry place.

Wash, dry, sharpen and oil all tools before putting them away. 

Fill wheelbarrow with soap and water…. wash your pots - and the barrow too.

Turn off water, drain hoses and store







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