With slightly cooler temperatures ahead, it’s time to get back out in the garden to do some planning and tidying up. October usually remains fairly dry, so keep your hose and sprinkler close at hand since fall plantings need one inch of water a week for optimum growth and performance. Here are a few helpful pointers to get your garden blooming again
1. Remove all tired or spent summer annual flowers from flower beds and borders. Now is the time to plant old favourites such as impatiens, salvias, pansies, violas and geraniums to name a few. All can be grown from seed or young seedlings.
2. Pull up summer vegetables since they have all but finished producing and are now a perfect harbour for pests and diseases. Now would be a good time to start your own compost bin.
3. Amend the planting areas with a good amount of organic matter, i.e., composted cow manure, prebagged compost, etc. The long hot summer days with drought conditions take their toll on the garden soil.
4. Get ready to plant the cooler season vegetable crops we last saw in the May harvest. Broccoli, cabbage, kale, mustard greens and lettuce can now be planted from seed or prestarted; seedlings may be purchased from your local garden centre. A complete planting guide for what vegetables can be planted at this time of year is available at Aberfeldy Nurseries.
5. Plant fresh herbs from seeds or seedlings. Herbs are easy to grow and ideally suited to container planting. The anticipation of picking home grown is very satisfying. Herbs available as small seedlings ready for transplanting include parsley, oregano, chives, marjoram, cilantro and several types of basil.
6. Reseed bare patches on your lawn with perennial rye grass. Use fertiliser to help your grass grow after the long hot summer of weekly mowing and drought stress. Try to get a head start on broad-leaf winter weeds with an application of pre-emergence weed control such as a weed and feed in either a liquid or granular form.
7. Empty old potting soil out of patio planters and containers and refill with new potting media. The old media can be incorporated and recycled in the garden.
8. Reapply diminishing mulches around trees, shrubs and roses to prevent fall weeds. Besides looking unsightly, weeds also compete for moisture and fertiliser and will prevent your plants from looking and performing their best.
9. Selectively tidy up and prune old, damaged or dead branches of shrubs and trees. Keep a look out for problem pests and diseases.
10. Water alone is not enough to obtain the best out of your garden. Make an application of an all-purpose 10-5-10 fertiliser on lawns, around shrubs, trees and hedges. A regular feeding using water-soluble fertiliser is an easy way to feed annual bedding plants and ornamentals.