Phil‘s Garden Tips and Tricks for October

It is now the waning days of Summer. The kids are back in school and your commutes have changed as a result. Take a moment as you drive and enjoy the slow change of the seasons. The rainy season will be with us by the end of October! September and October are my two favorite months of the year, for dry but cooler weather and generally sunny skies.

September Gardening Tasks:

  • Slack off on watering in the beds, but water some if your soil is dry. Less water now hardens plants off for winter.
  • Weed. Yes, still.
  • This month and next month are the best months to plant or renovate lawns, particularly as the air gets cooler and before it gets completely cloudy and cold.
  • Bait for slugs.
  • You can begin trimming off the tops of those perennials that have finished blooming and have turned brown to clear up the clutter.
  • Now is a good time to take rhododendron cuttings to start new ones if you are so inclined.
  • September through March are the best months of the year to transplant or plant. The very best month is November.
  • Prepare compost piles for recycling vegetation from garden and deciduous trees this fall. For a more detailed look at what makes good compost, read this blog post on composting.
  • Pick and store winter squash, if ready. This is usually late in September.
  • Use a copper spray for peach and cherry trees during dry periods.
  • Spray for bacterial canker of blueberries, leaf cane spot and juniper twig blight (after pruning away dead and infected twigs) during dry periods.
  • Bring houseplants indoors after cleaning and re-potting if nights get too cool. If possible, keep them out through October.
  • Pick tomatoes and potatoes.
  • September was the last month to plant your winter vegetable garden west of the Cascades. Examples are winter hardy kale, Brussels sprouts, different Italian greens, broccoli, raab, turnips, cabbage, kohlrabi and more.
  • September was also the final month for regular lawn fertilizer application (use a special Fall/Winter mix later in November).

How to Over Seed Your Lawn

The best time for over seeding (filling in bare spots) or just seeding in general is September/October/November or March/April/ May.

  1. Scratch/rough up the bare areas in the lawn with a leaf rake or a hard rake if necessary.
  2. Sprinkle some seed over the bare areas. Cover it about ¼” deep with a grass seed mulch.
  3. Wait about a month to see what happens. If green tiny shoots, like dog hair, begin appearing, you are doing well.
  4. If no green appears—or not enough to create happiness—repeat the performance every three weeks until you have grass.
  5. Keep the bag of grass seed in a cool place (like a garage) over the winter. In the summer put it in a refrigerator. (Watch out for rodents, they love the stuff!)

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