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October has arrived. It is a busy time of year for any gardener as you prepare to put your garden to rest and get ready for the arrival of Old Man Winter. In this article, we will explore the top tips for October gardening. 

  1. Clear the Garden Beds of Debris: Dig up or pull old plants and discard them. Remove any old foliage or debris that has fallen onto the garden soil. Many people mistakenly believe that they can leave dying and decaying plants to add nutrients to the soil, but it can also spread disease and promotes fungal problems that can quickly attack your tender new plants in the spring. 
  2. Dig Up and Store Flower Bulbs:  Remove your delicate flower bulbs such as canna, gladiolus, calla, and freesia bulbs to store for the winter. You can dig them up once their tops have frozen and forced them into a state of dormancy. 
  3. Rake the Leaves: It’s time to rake or vacuum the leaves from your landscape. You can shred them using a shredder or mulching mower and then use the leaves for compost. 
  4. Prune the Roses: If you have roses in your garden, then you’ll want to prune them back to the height of 10 to 12 inches. Remove the foliage to prevent diseases that can overwinter. Also, if you live in an area of severe weather, you’ll want to mound soil or mulch around the base of the rose bush to provide winter protection. 
  5. Plant Spring Bulbs: Plant daffodils, crocus, peonies, hyacinth, lilies, and tulips in preparation for spring. 
  6. Native Plants: Consider planting native plants in the fall. They are admirably adapted to your region and will continue to grow a robust root system even if their top growth dies. When spring and summer arrive, the native plants will spring to life.
  7. Cover Crop: Plant a winter cover crop that will help build soil by adding nitrogen and reducing weed growth. Clover is an ideal cover crop. 
  8. Garden Tools: Collect and oil your garden tools for storage through the winter months. 

October Tips for Gardeners in USDA Zone Eight

If you are lucky enough to live in USDA plant hardiness zone eight, then October is not the end of gardening opportunities but just the beginning. It’s time to consider planting a bevy of veggies for a robust winter harvest. If you have a cold frame, prepare the area for the new seedlings or seeds. 

Known as ‘cold season’ vegetables, the following plants thrive even if the temperature dips to 10-15 degrees F. (-12/-9 C). The cooler temperatures help contribute to the flavor and growth because the heat and humidity of summer have waned. 

  • Beets
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Fava beans
  • Swiss chard
  • Celery
  • Mustard
  • Cauliflower 
  • Garlic
  • Radishes
  • Onions
  • Turnips 
  • Strawberries 

When planning for a winter garden and harvest, be sure to have an ample supply of nutrients on hand to meet your plant’s needs. Contact Humboldts Secret Supplies to learn about all our nutrient solutions. 

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