Tuesday, 6 October 2015

October Garden Ramblings

It's Garden Mum time! 
The garden in fall...
Much weeding and clearing yet to do.

October came upon us so quickly that I am late, late, late with this post. How is it possible that the month can fly by so quickly?

So... What to do this month? Yep, you know it... still cleaning up and prepping for the rainy season.

Flowers and Ornamentals... 

Plant spring flowering bulbs now for colour next year. Pop some bulbs in the lawn, into pots, and in your garden beds.
You will be so glad you took the time to plant when you see their happy blooms pop up after a long, grey, wet winter.

Lift dahlia, gladioli, canna lily, and calla lily bulbs.
Brush off the dirt, or wash in warm water.
Remove any stringy bits, really small tubers, and cut the stem to about 1 inch long.
Leave to dry in a warm, well-ventilated room for two or three weeks.
Pack away into potting soil, peat moss, or vermiculite. I use ice cream pails with the name Sharpied on top, but any kind of box or bin will do. 

Cut back roses... Remove any broken, criss-crossed, inwards facing, damaged, or diseased branches, plus any really long branches to prevent breakage/tearing by wind, snow or rain. Likely your roses are still blooming right now, so leave the big pruning till November.

Poppies, larkspur, nigella, calendula, dianthus, and many other flowers will self seed, so do not be too hasty in cleaning them out of the garden. 

Sow these  flower seeds now for stronger, better blooms next summer.
- Sweet Alyssum
- Larkspur
- Poppies
- Love-in-a-mist (aka nigella)
- Ammi, Bishops' Lace
- Sweet Peas
- Cornflowers

Feed the birds all winter long with your own happy sunflowers! Tuck the heads into fences, make them into wreaths, nail them to a post, or lay them out on stumps... The birds will thank you for this lovely, organic, homegrown treat!  

In The Greenhouse...

Clean out the greenhouse, wash down walls and crevices, insulate with bubble wrap ...  both heated and unheated greenhouses benefit from bubble wrap!
Heated greenhouses will be better insulated and so less heat loss, while unheated greenhouses gain an extra 2 degrees of warmth....  without blocking out any light.

Bring in tender succulents and hardy annuals like fuchsias and geraniums. Spray down with insecticidal soap, wash off after 15 minutes, re-pot if needed. Remove any spent blooms and yellow foliage immediately to prevent rot or mould.

Take cuttings of your favourite tender plants. Pop into moistened potting mix, sand or perlite. Mist daily.

In The Yard and Garden...

Bring in hoses, sprinklers, pumps, and blow out water from watering systems.

Empty, wash up and put away pots and planters for next year.

Rake leaves, place into a pile to break down over winter, or use as mulch in your gardens.  

Weed your pathways and beds!

Continue to harvest veggies and clean up beds for next year. Prepare the beds now for spring by top-dressing with manure or compost, lots of organic material like leaves, seaweed, or grass clippings. Is also a great time to add any nutrients that you may be low on, such as blood meal or alfalfa for nitrogen, and bonemeal or rock phosphates for more phosphorous. 

All About Edibles...

Start a new strawberry patch with your runners.

Brussels sprouts small and not sizing up for you? Off with their heads... and their leaves, too!
Cut off most all of the bottom leaves and lop off the little cabbage looking thingie at the top of the plant... You will soon have lovely, plump sprouts.

Pot up hardy herbs like mints, rosemary, thyme, chives, parsley to enjoy all winter long. Place on deck or by doorway, under the eaves so they do not drown in winter, and harvest as needed. 
You can also bring them inside to a bright windowsill.

Have a covered hoop frame for your brassicas? Leave cover on till end month as aphids and cabbage moths are still out and about.... alternately leave on all winter if using for spinach and greens.

What to sow now...

- Garlic! Plant before end month. Read the planting how-to HERE!
- More spinach and greens in your covered low frame or unheated greenhouse. 
- Broad beans.
- More peas in your unheated greenhouse or hoop frame.

The fading blooms of summer...

Happy garden clean-up! 

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