Playing in the dirt: A change of season signals new to-do tips

October 13, 2018 10:03:48 PM



October? Are you kidding me? Not with these temperatures. Oh wait -- just as I was losing all hope that fall would arrive, a slight cool snap was forecast. By the time you are reading this, the cool snap will have come and gone, or maybe not. But I will make a guess that we haven't seen the end of hot days.


The weather plays a huge part in my garden and yard work. Being of a certain age, I no longer tolerate the extreme heat like I used to. However, despite the heat, I am pleased to report that I have a ready-to-harvest hybrid lettuce/greens crop in my salad table. You may remember I participated in the building of these tables and received one at a discount. Next spring, I have grand plans for this table. The literature suggests I can plant squash, peas, okra and a number of other veggies in this table. I'll keep you updated.


These nice cooler and breezier days are perfect for executing all the tips for October. Get out there and enjoy playing in the dirt.




October tips


Plant: Plant spring flowering bulbs this month, except for tulips and hyacinths. Place these in the refrigerator for six weeks before planting in late December or early January.


Pot up basil, chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, and Sweet Marjoram for that sunny kitchen window. Wisteria and trumpet vine can be planted this month. (Neither of these vines have many manners, so plant at your own peril.)


Annuals to plant are pansies, violas, pinks, flowering cabbage and kale and English daisy. Plant wildflowers, including cornflowers, larkspur and Queen Anne's lace, and perennials such as asters, salvia, hollyhock, daylilies, babies breath, iris and Shasta daisy.


Fertilize: Foliar feed (on the leaves) all plantings and lawns. Test soil in the garden to monitor the balance of minerals.


Prune: Prune back annuals like blue salvia and dianthus to the ground and mulch; they may go through the winter and bloom again.


Miscellaneous: Dig up caladiums now with foliage intact, allow to dry, remove dried foliage and store in peat moss in a cool, dark place for replanting next year. Force paperwhites, narcissus, lily of the valley, jonquil or hyacinth bulbs for indoor show. Enjoy the blooms in this way.


Place leaves in the compost bin.


Sharon Carrigan of Columbus shares monthly horticulture tips on behalf of the Lowndes County Master Gardeners.