Fall Gardening Tips for October
There’s Plenty to do in October!
Fall is now in full swing, and that means a new season’s worth of exciting things that you can do to improve your landscape! October may be the start of sweater weather, but you still have plenty of time to accomplish your gardening goals before it gets too chilly. Some of these garden tips aim to enhance your outdoor space to be enjoyed this season, others help to prepare it for the following Spring. Whether you aim to add Fall interest to your flower beds and container gardens, or hope to enter the Spring season with beautiful blooms and a green lawn, it’s time to get out and garden. Try these Fall Gardening Tips for October!
First, let’s start with one the fastest, most simple things you can do right now – plant Dutch bulbs! Fall makes for the perfect time to plant bulbs because Autumn weather allows for excellent root growth before Winter. Also, cool nights and warm days provide the best opportunity for your plants to thrive, plus the ground is not yet too firm to dig. Finally, Fall has more natural moisture, allowing for easier establishment in the landscape and less of a need to water. Important: plant your bulbs before the first frost.
Spring flowering bulbs are available in all of our Home & Garden stores in a number of varieties. Show-stopping tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, iris, snowdrops, and allium bulbs all can be planted this Fall and will burst with beauty this coming Spring. Planting them is incredibly easy, as you simply need to dig a hole, drop them in with the pointed side facing up, cover with soil, and water generously! You can even apply Espoma Organic Bulb Tone to give your bulbs an extra boost for better blooms.
Now also marks the point where you want to start to force your amaryllis bulb into dormancy to encourage reblooming later in the year. To truly get the most out of your amaryllis, bring it indoors at the end of Summer. Cut any dead leaves off towards the neck of the bulb, but keep any that still look good. Then, you can place your potted amaryllis into a cool (55 degrees Fahrenheit), dark space such as a cellar or dimly lit basement where it will remain for 6-8 weeks with no water. Cut off any leaves as they wither.
Between planting Fall annuals, extending the life of your Summer annuals, and preparing for new annuals for Spring, Fall is a busy time! In terms of planting, we absolutely adore the selection of annual celosia that we carry in our stores. It’s an extremely unique, colorful plant whose cock’s comb, spicata, and plumed varieties all offer immense interest to your garden. Ornamental peppers also have unparalleled beauty, with several color types to choose from. Make sure to find a spot for Winter pansies and ornamental cabbage and kale, whether it be in your container gardens or flower beds.
Before frost hits, bring your tropical Summer plants like hibiscus, mandevilla, bougainvillea, and brugmansia indoors. Extend your Summer annuals’ bloom time by covering them with frost blankets during cool, clear nights, and take the cuttings off of your favorite annuals to propagate over Winter. Geraniums can be overwintered as houseplants, bare-root, or as cuttings. After a “killing” frost, pull annuals from the garden, and if foliage is disease free, it may be composted.
Prepare to dig up and store your tender bulbs like dahlias, cannas, and calla lilies. Allow some annual flowers to persist and go to seed, collecting and labeling seed for next year. Some annuals reseed, so allow the flowers to persist and and for the seeds to mature. These include alyssum, snapdragons, petunias, and impatiens.
Introduce new perennials to your Fall display like mums, asters, rudbeckia, and Cheyenne spirit echinacea! Plant daylilies, hosta, and a variety of shrubs like Abelia Kaleidoscope, Fothergilla Mt. Airy, Spirea Candy Corn, and Itea Little Henry. Or, find a fantastic spot for your new Red Sunset Maple.
To encourage your perennials to come back for you next year, start to cut them back to the ground. Prune very carefully, ensuring that you do not take off too much. Some trees, shrubs, and perennials require very little pruning, whereas others can be cut all the way down to the soil. As a general rule of thumb to follow with regard to the best time to prune…if it blooms in Summer, it can be pruned now. You can also take this time to divide your perennials and give some to friends and family. Lastly, place a layer of loose mulch over perennial roots in your garden for Winter insolation.
As long as you try these Fall Gardening Tips for October, your perennials will come back year after year looking amazing.
Vegetables and Herbs
If you are an avid vegetable gardener, Fall is as important of a time as any to focus on your crops! Pull up any spent Summer vegetable plants and pick green tomatoes before frost, then store indoors until ripe. For your veggies that you planted in early Fall, be sure to also harvest them before the first frost hits. Winter squash, pumpkins, and carrots can tolerate frost, but not a severe freeze. Plant your garlic bulbs, and if you have a cold frame, sow seeds for a later crop of parsley, lettuce, chives, and onions.
Dig up tender herbs such as rosemary, parsley, chives, thyme, basil, oregano, and sage to overwinter and enjoy indoors. After all, learning to cook with homegrown herbs is a very rewarding skill to have! You can dry your herbs as well to enjoy all Winter long.
Planting aside, Fall is one of the best times of year to decorate your front porch! We have the best selection of Fall decor available for you to show your festive spirit. Pick out your favorite pumpkins, gourds, and squash to either paint, carve, stack, or display in their natural beauty. Incorporate corn shocks, decorative corn, straw bales, scarecrows, Fall signage, and jack-o-lanterns into your display to both spook and attract the attention of passerby. And, don’t forget our great selection of Fall garden flags, wreaths, and doormats.
With cooler nights coming, now is the time to take home a new fire pit. So, gather around for relaxation, storytelling, and laughter! Choose from our new gas fire pits, chimeneas, fire tables, and fire bowls, all in assorted styles and colors. It’s also the perfect time to update your patio with your dream outdoor furniture set! Visit our Rohrerstown or Mechanicsburg Patio Showrooms to find the perfect set for lounging, dining, entertaining, and conversation.
Finally, give your water garden some love this Fall. Cut the foliage off of all plants and sink hardy plants to the bottom of the deepest part of the pond. Overwinter tropical water lilies and tropical bog plants. Before the sea of falling leaves falls, cover your pond with netting. Follow these and additional important steps to successfully close your pond.
Happy Fall, Y’all!
This time of year is especially busy with back to school time, work, and excitement for all things Fall. And of course, the holidays are coming up quick! All things considered, keep your landscaping looking it’s best and try these Fall gardening tips for October to make the most of this beautiful season. #FallStartsHere at your local Stauffers of Kissel Hill Home & Garden Stores! We’re here to help you with everything you need to be successful this Autumn.