As the days grow shorter and the nighttime temperatures bring the threat of frost, Ohio valley gardening draws to a close this month. Yet, there is still an abundance of October gardening tasks which need attention.
October Gardening Tasks
Before you head outdoors, organize your chore chart with this regional to-do list for October in the Ohio valley.
October in the Ohio valley beckons the onset of a spectacular display of fall foliage. Once those leaves come down though, the work begins. Use your grass catcher to get double duty from your mowing efforts and pick up fallen leaves as you cut the grass. Chopped leaves compost faster and make great winter mulch. Here are some other lawn care items to check off the regional to-do list this month:
- Spray to eliminate perennial weeds, then reseed the lawn with cool-season grasses.
- Remember wishing you had a shade tree or row of privacy hedges last summer? Fall is the perfect time to add these plants to the landscape.
- Take stock of tools in need of repair. Replace worn out equipment for less money with end-of-season sales.
With killing frost on the horizon, take advantage of your Ohio valley gardening efforts by collecting and drying flowers for winter arrangements. Then get busy with these other October gardening tasks for the flowerbeds:
- After the first killing frost, remove annual flowers. The plant material can be composted provided it's disease-free.
- Plant spring bulbs (crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, star of Bethlehem, or tulip). Use chicken wire to prevent animals from digging freshly planted bulbs.
- Dig tender perennial bulbs after the foliage is killed by frost (begonia, caladiums, canna, dahlias, geraniums, and gladiolus).
- Transplant roses and prune hardy perennials to ground level.
Watch the weather forecast and cover tender crops with a sheet to protect them from light frost. Once a killing frost threatens to bring an end to the Ohio valley gardening season, harvest tender vegetables such as peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. (Green tomatoes can be ripened indoors.) Then add these tasks to your regional to-do list:
- For the best flavor, wait until after frost to harvest beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, parsnips, Swiss chard, rutabagas, and turnips.
- Once the garden is done for the year, clean off plant debris and remove tomato stakes.
- Have the garden soil tested. Amend with compost or plant a cover crop.
As you work on the regional to-do list this month, consider donating excess vegetables to those less fortunate. Then finish out the month with these October gardening tasks:
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Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.