Pond maintenance, soil care and harvesting late-season vegetables provide amateur gardeners and garden enthusiasts with versatile fall gardening tasks. In addition, the orchard and lawn also require attention. We have summarized the most important gardening tips for October for you.
Every eight to ten years, rhubarb calls for division, which keeps the perennials vital and growing. Once the leaves have a brown tinge, you can use a sharp spade to cut off sections that have at least three buds.
At the new location, first thoroughly loosen the soil and ideally work three to four quarts of compost into the soil. Since rhubarb requires adequate space for vigorous growth, plan for a stand area of 100 by 150 inches per plant.
The new rhubarb perennials will enjoy undisturbed growth for the first year. However, from the second year you can start harvesting again. If you do not want to give up harvesting in the year after the division, you can leave half of the rooted mother plant in the old location.
If you want to add gooseberries to your garden, October is an ideal time. When buying, make sure the pot root ball is firm and well rooted. Three to five strong shoots should be evenly distributed around the plants.
Both before and after planting, trim the shoots to about a third of their length. The planting hole should be large enough so that you can comfortably place the pot ball in it. Carefully remove the root ball from the pot, trying not to damage the roots as much as possible.
Then place the shrub in the planting hole as deep as it was in the pot. Then fill the planting pit with soil and water it vigorously. This measure not only provides watering, but also washes the loose soil closer to the root ball so that it is well enclosed.
Prune back raspberries
Once you have completely harvested your raspberry bushes, pruning of the worn canes is carried out from the end of October. For summer raspberries, remove all biennial shoots and cap them just above the ground. Among the one-year-old shoots, select the strongest canes to expect a bountiful harvest next year. Weak shoots, as well as those placed in an unfavorable position, should also be cut close to the ground.
Pruning autumn raspberries is comparatively easier: Here, cut off all harvested canes directly above the ground, leaving nothing standing. Next spring, the bushes will sprout completely new shoots and bear their berries on the young shoots.
Care for the soil under hazelnut bushes
While hazelnut bushes do not require extensive care, they do thank you for regular thinning cuts. However, if you would like to obtain a rich harvest of healthy nuts, further care measures are recommended, mainly concerning the soil.
The most important measures include loosening the soil and regular removal of weeds. In this way, on the one hand, you prevent infestation with maggots of the hazelnut borer, and on the other hand, you prevent the nesting of bats.
On the other hand, you can turn a blind eye to dormice: As relatives of the dormouse, dormice are among the endangered species. In the fall, the mice use the nutrient-rich nuts to build up a thick layer of fat to survive their subsequent hibernation.
Harvest late vegetables properly
Kale, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and winter leeks are absolutely frost-resistant as winter vegetables. Therefore, the plants can persevere on the open bed without frost protection until next spring.
Pumpkins, on the other hand, should be harvested in time, even as a late-maturing cultivar, since the fruits do not tolerate temperatures below zero degrees Celsius. Therefore, before the first night frosts, you should take pumpkins from the bed and store them in a dark, cool and airy room.
Chinese cabbage, autumn kohlrabi, chard, beet and sugar loaf, on the other hand, turn out to be only conditionally cold-resistant. Therefore, the more sensitive vegetables will thank you for cold protection and will overwinter under a fleece cover without any problems. Only if longer frost periods threaten, you should quickly complete the harvest.
Since savoy cabbage and red cabbage lose quality in changeable autumn weather, an early harvest is recommended. Pull the heads together with the stalk out of the ground. In a natural cellar or alternatively in a cool, humid room, the vegetables can be hung and stored with leaves around them.
If your bush beans were surprised by post-frost before the fall harvest, wait to harvest until the pods have thawed in the morning. Then the beans can be picked and should be used quickly.
Re-seed bare spots in the lawn
Amateur gardeners get their last chance to fix bare spots in the lawn in October. After roughening the soil with an iron rake, hand scarifier or star tiller, sow fresh lawn seed into the bare spots.
Ideally, make sure to use the same turf mixture to maintain a uniform green area. Cover the reseeding with a thin layer of humus soil and water the lawn seed thoroughly.
If large-scale repairs are pending, it is better to postpone them until next spring. Otherwise, the area will not be able to regenerate before the onset of winter and you may have to reseed again.
Not every tree is suitable for every location. Sometimes, however, the problem becomes apparent only after the fact, when the tree has been thriving for some time. If the tree has been in the same location for less than five years, there is no need to cut it down. Between October and March you can move the tree in frost-free weather and can usually hope for good growth in the new location.
If you transplant the tree in the fall, it will benefit from a less stressful growing season than in the spring. During the autumn months, the plants can take advantage of the residual heat in the soil, which facilitates root formation. In addition, the moist climate of the season contributes to rooting, so that the shrubs and trees come through the winter well.
In search of inexpensive, bare-root roses, you will find them in many nurseries starting in October. If you plant the new rose bushes already in autumn, you take advantage of the fact that the plants are fresh from the field at this time. If, on the other hand, you decide to buy the rose bushes in the spring, they have often already been in cold storage for three to four months.
Autumn plantings also start the new garden year with a small head start, as you are well rooted in the spring and consequently sprout earlier. When planting, however, keep in mind that the grafting point of the rose must be about a hand’s width in the ground. With fir brushwood and mounded soil you additionally protect your roses from heavy frosts in winter.
Autumn pond care
In October, many trees shed their leaves. If you have not already provided your garden pond with a leaf net early on, you should now regularly reach for the landing net. Fish off the leaves on the pond surface before they sink to the bottom of the pond, where they decompose into rotting sludge.
Your garden pond’s riparian planting will help prevent more fall leaves from ending up in the water. Therefore, only reach for the pruning shears in the spring and leave the planting in place throughout the fall. In this way, you also provide useful insects with a winter home that offers protection from the cold season.
If sludge has already formed at the bottom of the pond, you should remove it before the onset of winter with a pond sludge vacuum cleaner or a scoop bucket with a handle. Water lilies and other aquatic plants will also thank you for a little pruning to remove any yellowing leaves.