October marks the start of fall and with it comes cooler weather, the changing of the leaves, and a period of time when nature prepares for another winter season. Help your lawn and garden prepare for the winter by completing these checklist items:
- Put down an organic fall lawn fertilizer to help the grass rebuild its root system after any summer damage and to restore nutrients in the soil.
- Avoid mowing the grass shorter in the fall before heading into the winter season. This is a lawn care myth. Instead, continue mowing the grass only when needed, and with a sharpened mower blade.
- Remove fallen debris and leaves as they can damage your lawn if left there too long.
Indoor Plant Care
- Move houseplants indoors for the season.
- Make sure houseplants still receive proper sunlight as the days get shorter and sunlight patterns change.
Tree & Shrub Maintenance
- Thin out forsythia, lilacs, and spirea.
Fruit and Vegetable Gardening
- After the first frost of the season, finish harvesting root vegetables.
- Harvest the last of the herbs and freeze them for fresh herbs all winter-long.
- For beautiful spring asparagus, side-dress with compost or organic fertilizer now. Side-dressing is done to give a more direct infusion of nutrients to the roots of the plants during a critical growth period. Side-dress asparagus by spreading compost or a 5-5-5 granular fertilizer along the trench between rows of asparagus (roughly 4 inches from the stem).
- Plant garlic cloves, onions, and spinach seed now for an early spring harvest.
Flower & Bulb Preparation
- Dig up summer bulbs like gladiolus, freesia, dahlias, calla lilies, and cannas, and store them for next year.
- Divide hostas and replant them.
- Do you have ornamental grasses or sunflowers? Leave them for wildlife habitat. Birds will appreciate the gift.
- Clean plant pots out and add new soil mixed with Natural Alternative®’s 5-5-5 and Protilizer, to plant paperwhites for the upcoming holidays.
- Broadcast wildflower seeds to establish a hummingbird, butterfly, and bird haven.
Maintenance & Other Items
- Buy pumpkins early in the month for the best selection. Here’s a great article to help you with selecting the best pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns, cooking, or baking.
- Prepare for fall displays with mums, asters, corn stalks, and hay bales. Gourds, Indian corn, and bittersweet make nice door wreaths and add touch of color.
- Take a family outing into the woods to harvest wild bittersweet; it’s much more fun than buying it at the store.
- Rake those leaves! Either get them with the mower, or compost them.
- Clean up the garden and till the soil while adding in an organic fertilizer.