ASHEVILLE NC – Gardening Chores for October:
- This is a good time to core aerate compacted soils. (See September Mountain Gardener).
- If you have reseeded the lawn, it will be important to keep the tree leaves from accumulating. A leaf blower would be gentler on the seedling grass than the rake.
- This is a good time to fertilize the cool season lawn (fescue, bluegrass) if you did not do it last month.
- If you have Hemlock trees, inspect them for signs of Hemlock Woolly Adelgids. This is a good time of year to treat smaller trees with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Fall is also a good time to apply a systemic soil drench treatment on larger trees. See Recommendations for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Control or view BCTV 2′s Hemlock Woolly Adelgid video, hosted by Linda Blue of Buncombe County Cooperative Extension.
- Plant pansies and ornamental cabbage.
- Clean up house plants before moving back indoors. Take the time to cut them back and remove dead leaves and flowers. While you are at it, inspect carefully for insect infestations and treat before bringing the plants indoors.
- Do not fertilize anything other than the lawn.
- There have been a lot of diseases in the gardens and orchards this year, making good sanitation especially important. As you rake leaves, also remove any fruit left in the trees and pick up all fruit from the ground.
- Most blackberries and raspberries produce fruit on second year canes. An exception is Heritage red raspberry, which produce two crops each season if pruned in the traditional manner. But they can also be managed by simply cutting all of the canes to the ground in late fall to produce one larger crop in late summer.
- Good sanitation is important in the vegetable garden as well. Remove spent plants to the compost pile or turn them into the soil to rot.
- Spray all cabbage family crops with organic B.t. (Bacillus thruingiensis) every 7 to 10 days to control the various caterpillars. Also check plants regularly for aphids, which can be controlled with insecticidal soap.
- Pick green tomatoes before frost. Set them on the kitchen counter to ripen or use them green.
- Harvest sweetpotatoes, pumpkins and winter squashes before frost.
- Leave hummingbird feeders out for late migrating birds.
- Clean out bird houses. Songbirds will often use them on cold winter nights.
- Fall is a great time to start a new compost pile. You can build a bin or just pile all that yard waste in the corner. More information on back yard composting.
For more information, watch BCTV 2′s “October Garden Chores with Linda Blue” video or call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.