Gardening Columnist Maggie L. Moor-Orth gives gardeners a way to keep busy outdoors throughout the month with mowing, planting, raking and more.


Here is your gardening schedule for the month of October:

First week of October

Dig up gladioluses, dahlias, tubers and other tender bulbs. Plant budded chrysanthemums. The buds will open once planted to add color to fall landscapes. If you buy plants already in full bloom, they will not last long. Check your perennials. Some may not have survived this year’s heat and droughts. Water evergreens if needed. Take a soil sample of your gardens and lawn so the results are available in time to add fertilizer or lime, which will improve or adjust soil fertility. Use shedding needles from pines, yews and arborvitaes as mulch around azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and andromedas. Bring in house plants that have been living outdoors all summer. Be sure to inspect for pests before you bring them in.

Second week of October

Dig up and pot an herb plant or two from the herb garden. Parsley, chives, sage, thyme or scented geraniums do well all winter, if watered and set in a warm sunny window. Rake and add leaves falling from deciduous trees to the compost pile. Pick bagworms from the evergreens and shrubs and destroy them. This will abolish the spring hatching of over-wintering eggs. Plant shrubs and divide crowded perennials. Prune leaves and stems of herbaceous perennials as they turn brown.

Third week of October

Mow the lawn continually so it will not be matted down under heavy snow if we have another winter like last year. Plant spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, etc. Protect broadleaf evergreens from winter damage caused by wind and sun. Rake and clean up rose gardens to prevent black spot and other diseases. Keep an eye open for reduced prices on end-of-the-season gardening tools and equipment to be used next year or to be given as gifts.

Last week of October

Transplant small trees after leaves have fallen. Secure vines to their support systems. Clean up garden debris and add to the compost pile.

Here’s a tip: Call the Kent County County Extension Office to see what gardening workshops are offered this fall at 730-4000. Also, the Master Gardeners are having a bulb workshop Friday, Oct. 15. To register, call 730-4000.