Soil Prep In October Brings Spring Blooms

By Thomas Fryd

Perennials - Perennials should be cut back after blooming and reset this month (October). Perennials set now will be established and ready to grow in the spring. Some of the biennials tend to become perennials in our gardens, and occasionally a half-hardy annual lives on and on.

If you have not yet cleaned up all litter or garden trash, be sure it is done this fall. Do not provide a winter home for insect pests.

Chrysanthemums - October is the month of heaviest bloom for this queen of fall flowers. The most important thing to remember is to provide plenty of water for them. They are heavy feeders (which should have been taken care of in September) and heavy drinkers. Visit the fall shows and gardens of chrysanthemums and write down names of varieties you like and try them another year. The fall shows are wonderful places to see the best in the seasonal flowers. Keep a close check on the weather, and before killing frost lift clumps of chrysanthemums and put in the garage or basement for continued bloom. A few may even be potted and kept in the house. An additional month of flowers may be had in this way.

Soil Preparation - In open spaces in the garden, dig the soil deep, adding a little complete fertilizer. Or plant some type of cover crop and turn it under for a green manure. Soil preparation can go on all year in a garden. Just turning the soil will keep it in good tilth.

Miscellaneous - Take cuttings of herbaceous plants like the donkey ears plant and root them for next year's garden. Many gardeners carry over plants of all kinds like the donkey ears plant simply as rooted cuttings taken during October. The cutting wood should be firm and seasoned, and not soft and succulent, for best results. Plant pansy seeds for transplanting next month. Pansies are the chief source of bloom in many winter gardens. Continue planting the garden lilies started last month.

Visit the countryside and gather seed pods, weeds and flowers for drying. Many interesting materials are available for winter bouquets, and October is the month for collecting and drying them. Divide and replant peonies, or plant new ones, this month. - 29857

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