Beaver Valley Probus Club

Master Gardener's Corner - October 2023

October 01, 2023 11:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Things to do in your garden in October.

Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
by John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus
Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

Please contact John for more information!

October Garden Tips:

  • After a warm, no, it was a HOT summer, plus some lovely summer days in September, FALL is definitely here with a possible risk of FROST.
  • There is much talk in the fall about “Putting Your Garden to Bed”—I think they mean preparing your garden for the winter. There is an annual argument among gardeners as to whether you should cut back your perennials, ornamental grasses, etc., in the fall, or leave them tall for “winter interest”, and to feed the birds. However, up here, most perennials are covered by 2 feet of snow, so you can’t see them anyway and there are no seedheads for the birds. Spring Clean-Up can be daunting. There may be wet weather, or a late spring. For these reasons, I am opting for a BIG FALL CLEAN-UP again this year to get a jump on spring 2024.
  • I say it’s time to trim back perennials and divide them as needed for your garden, or to give to your neighbours, or to pot them up now and put them back in the ground for the St. George’s plant sale in June 2024. Plant donors get an Income Tax Receipt for the value their plants sell for, if you donate 15 or more plants.
  • When digging and potting up, always make sure it is a cool, cloudy day and add bone meal fertilizer to the pots, or to your new plantings.
  • Remember, October is a great time to plant perennials. They get a big jump on plants planted next spring.
  • Buy and plant spring flowering bulbs. Add a little bulb fertilizer, like bone meal, to the bottom of the hole and add water to the hole to get the bulb’s roots started. Your efforts NOW will bring big dividends in April and May 2024.
  • For a longer bulb bloom season, plant a variety of bulbs, like winter aconite, snow drops and crocus to start the season. You can also plant early, middle and late blooming tulips and daffs for a much longer bulb season.
  • Place chicken wire just under the surface of the soil over any tulip bulbs you plant. The squirrels will hate you. Daffs should not need this protection.
  • If there is an early frost warning this fall, cover tender annuals overnight with an old bed sheet. They should make it through the night and keep on blooming.
  • Bring in house plants when the evenings start to cool down, or if you get a frost warning. First, give them a thorough spray with insecticidal soap, so that there are no unwanted hitchhikers coming into your home.
  • Fertilize lawns with a “high” first number, no “second” number and lower “third” number or with a “Fall Formula” fertilizer. Don’t use that fertilizer left over from the spring.
  • Start cutting your grass much lower than in summer to avoid winter matted long grass next spring that you will have to rake out.
  • Water shrubs, evergreens and trees weekly and deeply at least until frost.
  • Buy Triple-19 fertilizer NOW and store it, so you will have it to put on your garden beds right after the snow has gone next spring. It’s possible the Markdale Co-Op may be OUT OF STOCK early next spring. It’s available now at the Markdale CO-OP (519-986-2031) for $29.40 for a 50-pound bag.

John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus,
Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

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Beaver Valley PROBUS Club

Box 144, Thornbury, ON N0H 2P0

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