Oct. 2013 To-Do List: Mid-South

Home Depot

Ornamental KaleTake advantage of October’s milder temperatures to plant or transplant trees and shrubs; just remember to water deeply and thoroughly if the weather is dry. Allow some of your plants, such as ornamental grasses, coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans, to dry in the garden, providing tasty seeds for birds. Collect the seeds of sunflowers, larkspurs, morning glories, zinnias, and other annuals to store in a cool, dry, dark place until it’s time to plant next year.

  • For seasonal color in front porch containers and windowboxes, use pansies, violas, ornamental cabbages and kales, pinks, English daises, and snapdragons. Cool Wave pansies are available in select Home Depot Garden Centers this year in two new colors: deep purple and golden yellow.
  • Sow cool season crops like cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mustard greens, radishes, spinach, rutabagas, kohlrabi and lettuce. Floating row covers can extend your harvest a little longer by protecting tender greens from frost.
  • Easy-to-grow sasanquas flower in fall. In our region, try “Pink Snow,’ a cultivar with light pink blooms, or ‘Yuletide,’ which has bright red flowers with yellow stamens. Ask your local Home Depot Garden Center associate for more recommendations.
  • Plant garlic cloves 3 inches deep, pointed ends up, in rich, well-drained soil. Avoid using bulbs from the supermarket, which are often treated to inhibit sprouting.
  • Bring cuttings of basil inside before frost, and put them in water. After roots form, pot the cuttings and grow them in a sunny windowsill.
  • Instead of planting bulbs in beds this year, toss them over the ground and plant wherever they land, to make natural-looking drifts.
  • Expand your garden by selecting bulbs that naturalize, or spread on their own. Try ‘King Alfred’ or ‘Carleton’ daffodils, grape hyacinths, and crocus.
  • Remove the wire cage around the root ball of balled or burlapped trees before planting. Open the burlap at the top and spread it out before backfilling the hole. The burlap will eventually decompose, but opening it will encourage the roots to spread.
  • If you’re planting lots of bulbs, make your job easier by using an earth auger plugged into a battery–powered hand drill. Home Depot rents many lawn and garden tools.
  • Test your soil if you’re planning to redo your lawn. Many extension service offices can test it for you, or you can purchase a test kit. If you need amendments, adding them now gives them time to blend with your native soil before you plant.
  • Shred fall leaves with a mulching blade on your mower.
  • Start easy perennial beds by placing thick layers of newspaper over the ground and covering them with bags of topsoil. Poke holes in one side of each bag and lay it holes-side down on the paper. Cut the plastic off the top of the bags and plant your perennials in them. Mulch about three inches deep, hiding any visible parts of the bags. 
  • Sow a mini-meadow with wildflower seeds.

 

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