Thursday, October 14, 2010

Things to do in the October garden

Well, this was supposed to be posted a couple weeks ago, but I guess I hit save instead of publish! Better late than never, as I head out to rescue tomatoes from the greenhouse...
'The greatest gift of the garden
Is the restoration of the five senses.'
- Hanna Rion (1875-1924), American landscape artist

  • With the first frosts, lift tuberous begonias, dahlias and gladioli for winter storage. Bring hanging basket fuchsias into shelter from frost. {I did this last year & they actually survived to bloom again this year - granted, not til September, but lovely to have flowers in the fall. Will do it again & see if they live for another year. The ones I planted in the flower bed are huge & could do with a heavy pruning - should I wait til spring?}
September 21, barrel of fushias
October 13, fushias still in bloom
  • DIG AND DIVIDE congested or unproductive clumps of rhubarb. In the first two weeks, you still have time to dig/divide or RELOCATE PEONIES. {I hope that these plants don't drown this winter. The peonies got hit with a May frost this spring & lost their blossoms - maybe next year will be better...}
  • CUT BACK raspberry and rose canes that have grown overlong before they can be whipped about and damaged in winter winds. {My ever bearing raspberries are producing more fruit, so I might wait til later on in the season to cut them back...}
Raspberries setting fruit - September 21
Ripe Raspberries - October 13
  • PLANT trees and shrubs, bush and cane fruits, hedges and spring flower bulbs, garlic and shallots this month.
  • Locate POINSETTIAS in a room where no lights are turned on between dusk and dawn. Or cover each plant with a light-tight box for 14 hours each night. Continue the long night treatment until the top bracts have begun to color in December. {I have yet to have success with this - sometimes it's easier to treat poinsettias as annuals}
  • Rest CHRISTMAS CACTUS plants in a cool, bright room. Water only enough to keep the plants from shrivelling. With flower bud formation, resume normal watering.
  • Continue mowing lawns as long as the grass is growing. Keep lawns raked clean of leaves and debris. {After leaving all the grass cuttings on the lawn this year, it is finally starting to look better. Keep the leaves for mulch on flower & veggie beds or add to the compost for some garden gold.}
  • Clean out annual flower beds and plots of spent vegetable plants. SEED the emptied areas with FALL RYE. {I'm trying this to see if I can revive the soil - it will be tilled back into the soil early in the spring a few weeks before planting time}
  • Dig and TRANSPLANT young trees and shrubs that need relocating.
I'm posting this a few days early as I'm heading out to my sister's house in Alberta & won't actually be able to work on my own gardens for the next 2 weeks. We've just had our first storm of the winter season (meaning crazy sideways rain - lots & lots of it - and huge winds). I will make time for a garden tour to see if there is any damage (blown down plants & debris) & do a quick bit of dead-heading on the remaining flowers.

The tomatoes in the greenhouse are still ripening & my husband will have lots for breakfast & lunches - how I'll miss the taste of them while I'm away. The basil was harvested yesterday & turned into pesto (frozen in ice cube trays for winter use) & the soil was dumped into buckets for later spreading on beds in the spring.

We should have nice weather for the weekend & I'm looking forward to seeing what potential gardens my sister is planning at their new house - gardening in Alberta is much more of a challenge than here on the coast - fascinating, but dealing with the possibility of snow at any given moment in the year is just too much for me.

Mystery plant in bloom - September 26
I've returned from my trip to sunny Alberta - what a wonderful warm time away! The gardens at home here did ok despite my absence (or because of it?!) but was visited by at least 3 does who found things to nibble on. Time to work on that list of plants they left alone & see if I can find more of them!

Might be bee balm - October 13

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