Gardening Chores for October

Submitted by Blogger of the Month Jennifer Cazzola

While spring planting season is months away, and the evening temperatures are just beginning to drop, there are still a number of things that can be done in your garden before winter sets in.

Plant Garlic

Garlic is a super easy and rewarding crop to grow and now is the time to plant it. Bulbs for planting can be purchased at any seed store, and while it is a bit late in the year for shopping, there are still a few varieties available. Grocery store garlic is not recommended as it may be of a variety unsuited for your area and will most likely have been treated for an extended shelf life.

To plant: separate the bulbs into cloves leaving the outer skin on. Place root side down and pointed end up 2” deep and 4” apart. Cover with soil and water well. As the bulbs begin to sprout, you may cover them lightly with mulch to protect them from the frost. (If by chance your plants are affected by the weather, don’t worry too much about it. They’ll recover and should continue to produce well).

Fertilize occasionally and provide adequate water throughout the winter and spring. I make sure mine get about one inch of water per week. Harvest in the summer when the foliage begins to turn yellow and die back.

Plant Flowering Bulbs

Daffodils are our favorite. The first October on our homestead, we had just moved in, but I took time out of our unpacking to plant a number of daffodil bulbs around our pond. Every spring we are rewarded with a beautiful display that continues to spread. Other bulbs that can be planted at this time are tulips, crocuses, and grape hyacinth.

Plant at the required depth (usually specified on the package) adding a small amount of organic matter or blood meal to the hole. Be sure to mark the location so you can watch for new growth in the spring.

Bulbs will typically bloom once for a few weeks and then be done for the year. However, depending on the variety, they may come back year after year. Keep in mind that Oklahoma weather is not kind to tulips so those may not provide as good results. Consider combining your bulbs with a variety of annuals and perennials which can also be planted in the fall.

Make Plans for Next Year

Now is the time to think about what you’d like to do in your garden next year. Once the holiday season hits, there is little time left afterward to plan before the spring planting season begins. Make a list of new varieties you’d like to try, take notes on what worked well this past season as well as any changes that need to be made.

If you haven’t already, order a few seed catalogs to provide inspiration and give ideas. Order any seed as soon as possible. Popular varieties tend to sell out rather quickly.

SONY DSCBlogger of the Month Jennifer Cazzola writes about her transition from city to country life, offers tips on natural gardening, chickens, recipes from her kitchen and ideas for frugal, simple living on her blog,  Black Fox Homestead.
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