Gardening in October – Prepare for Wintertime!

“GARDEN (Flowers, vegetables and small fruits)

Harvest root crops and store in a cold (32 F), humid location. Storing produce in perforated plastic bags is a convenient, easy way to increase humidity.

Harvest Brussels sprouts as they develop in the axils of the leaves from the bottom of the stem. Brussels sprouts will continue to develop up the stem.

Harvest pumpkins and winter squash before frost, but when rind is hard and fully colored. Store in a cool location until ready to use.

Harvest gourds when stems begin to brown and dry. Cure at 70-80 F for two to four weeks.

Harvest mature, green tomatoes before frost and ripen indoors in the dark. Warmer temperatures lead to faster ripening.

Asparagus top growth should not be removed until foliage yellows. Let foliage stand over winter to collect snow for insulation and moisture.

Remove plant debris from the garden to protect next year’s plantings from insect and disease buildup. Compost plant refuse by alternating layers of soil, plant material, and manure or commercial fertilizer.

Have garden soil tested for fertilizer needs every three to five years.

Plowing and incorporating organic matter in fall avoids the rush of garden activities and waterlogged soil in spring. Soils prepared in the fall tend to warm faster and allow earlier planting in spring.

Carve a Halloween jack-o’-lantern.

Dig tender garden flower bulbs for winter storage. Gladiolus corms should be dug when leaves begin turning yellow. Caladiums, geraniums and tuberous begonias should be lifted before killing frost. Dig canna and dahlia roots after a heavy frost. Allow to air dry, then pack in dry peat moss or vermiculite, and store in a cool location.

Complete planting of spring-flowering bulbs.”

I like to leave my plants out as far into the fall as I can.  When an early frost is expected, it is possible to cover your tomato plants during the night/during the day when an unusually early frost is expected.  This way the plants can produce tomatoes later into the fall.  Carrots & lettuce also like the cold & will thrive; it’s very possible to get a small bumper crop.  Spinach is another crop which does very well in the fall/winter.

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