October Garden Checklist
The following is a garden checklist:
- If you didn’t seed your tall fescue lawn in September, do so by the middle of the month. Seed at a rate of 8-10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. For existing tall fescue lawns, overseed now to thicken them up at a rate of 4-5 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Tall fescue makes a wonderful lawn for the shade, but you still need to have 3-4 hours of sunlight. Be sure to water it well until it is established. Fertilize now as well with a complete fertilizer.
- Planting trees and shrubs in the fall is ideal. Our ground temperature is still warm, so roots will begin to get established quickly. Rarely does our soil ever freeze solid, so the plants will continue to produce roots, even though the tops aren't growing.
- Leaves should be collected as they fall. You don’t want a heavy covering of leaves entering the winter months. A dense layer can actually smother a lawn. People often leave leaves on the lawn until it turns cold and then rake them. If you have a covering of leaves on your lawn prior to the first frost, the leaves may prevent your lawn from going dormant. When you finally do rake up the leaves, you’ll expose actively growing grass to cold weather. Your lawn could suffer winter injury.
- Even though the weather is cooler this month, don’t forget to water an inch of water per week if natural rainfall doesn’t occur. It is especially important around trees and shrubs that were planted this year. Don’t severely prune shrubs now because this will encourage rapid regrowth, and the new growth won’t have time to harden off before cold weather arrives.
- In the garden plant a cover crop, such as wheat, rye, alfalfa or crimson clover and turn it under in the spring. Don’t let your cover crop go to seed. Cover crops hold the soil and organic matter in place, provide insulation and add nutrients to the soil. They also encourage continued activity of beneficial soil microorganisms.
- Do NOT compost or leave any diseased plants or plant parts in the garden.
- For you garlic lovers, it’s that time of the year to plant garlic for next years harvest. Grow garlic in a location that gets at least six hours of full sun each day, and plant in fertile, well drained soil from mid-October to mid-December. Before planting, separate the bulbs of culinary garlic into individual cloves. Set cloves right side up ½ to 1 inch deep and 3 to 5 inches apart in the row.
- It's time to set out winter pansies, flowering kale, flowering cabbage and fall mums.
- Have your soil tested and follow the test recommendations.
- Plant spring bulbs, including tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, Siberian squill, bulbous irises, Anemone and crocus. Select healthy, disease-free bulbs. Add bone meal or bulb fertilizer into the planting hole, as you prepare the soil.
- People become worried when their pine trees shed pine needles, but it is a natural process. As long as the needles that are dropping are not at the tip of the branches, everything is fine. Rake up the pine needles and use it as a mulch around your shrubs.
- Clean up around your perennial plants. Any leaves that have fallen can harbor insects and diseases for next year. Scatter dry seed heads or store the seeds for later use. Cut back any plants that have lost most of their leaves or that look bad now.
- Divide and transplant any perennials that typically bloom in the spring or summer. Plant new perennials. They too will get well established during the fall, winter and early spring. Fall planting can also give you blooms the first season after planting.
- Recycle disease-free annual potted plants and potting medium by adding them to the compost pile or directly into the garden. Remember to break up root balls from the plants.
- Clean up emptied pots with a 10 percent bleach solution to get rid of any plant pathogens.
- Empty excess water out of hoses before storing. Water expands as it freezes and can burst hoses.
- As you harvest your Halloween pumpkins, or when you purchase yours, pick one with a good solid rind, free of blemishes or wounds. Always make sure that at least an inch or two of stem is left attached. If they have no stem, they are more prone to rotting. Paint a face on your pumpkin as early as you want, but avoid carving your pumpkin until a day or two before Halloween. Once they are carved, they deteriorate rapidly.
For more information on any of the above points, contact the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension office at 425-2335.
By Mark Keaton
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mark Keaton
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
3 East 9th St. Mountain Home AR 72653
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