OCTOBER GARDENING TIPS
Fall is a great time for planting. Trees and shrubs planted now will be well established by spring’s growing season and endure next year’s heat much better.
Wildflower seeds should be sown this month into weed-free, well-tilled soil.
Purchase spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, anemones, hyacinths, and ranunculus now, to ensure the best selection.
Except for tulips and hyacinths, which require extra chilling, spring-flowering bulbs may be planted now into well-draining soil. The base of the bulb should be planted at a depth three times as deep as the bulb is wide (three to five inches deep for most tulips).
Refrigerate tulip and hyacinth bulbs for 12 weeks before planting (to ensure flower formation). Place the bulbs in the lowest part of the refrigerator in either their original plastic weave bags, or in paper sacks. Do not put the bulbs into airtight, plastic containers or they may rot.
To initiate flowering in Christmas cacti, keep the plants in total darkness from 5 pm to 8 am for 30 to 45 days. Do the same thing for 8 to 12 weeks to induce flowering in last year’s Poinsettias. Both plants should be placed in a sunny window during the day.
Now that the nights are beginning to cool down, pansies, snapdragons, petunias, and calendulas can be planted. Make sure to plant in well-draining soil and in an area that receives at least half a day of full sun. Other great fall annuals to plant now include flowering kale and flowering cabbage.
If you wish to save caladium tubers for another year, dig in late October and allow them to dry in a well-ventilated but shaded area. After 7 to 10 days, remove the leaves and soil, dust with an all-purpose powder fungicide, then store in a container of completely dry potting media. Make sure that the tubers won’t touch each other during storage and place the container in a dry area where temperatures will be between 50 and 75 degrees F.