Wednesday, October 12th, 2011...12:00 am

Some Things to do in the Garden in October

october garden 33678 by flora.cyclam

I am getting ready for winter and thinking of next spring. Are my readers also doing the same?

I did my first major raking. Living with so many trees, this raking will be ongoing until the last leaf has fallen. But I never throw any leaves away. They are always saved. I don’t leave any leaves on my street. I greedily collect those, too, for composting. I hope you have compost bins for your leaves.

I just planted over 60 tulip bulbs for next spring. Now I have to hope that no varmint eats the bulbs. Unlike daffodil bulbs, tulip bulbs are not poisonous so animals may want to dig them to eat. But the vision of tulips in bloom, is worth the risk. Last year I only lost a few tulips. I have been talking to nursery people to ask what they do to safeguard bulbs and have been told that they put in red hot pepper flakes in the holes with the bulbs. They buy the cheapest giant economy size of pepper flakes for this purpose. I used up my old bottles of pepper flakes and also put in some moth balls into each hole with the bulb food. Then I sprinkled Tabasco sauce or hot chili oil plus stale ground black pepper on the ground after I covered the bulbs with soil. Hope that will detract those cheeky chipmunks.

My borders have become completely overgrown. So I have started overhauling them. I am digging up my overgrown clumps and replanting them in other locations or giving them away to friends. I am refreshing the soil with compost but am not quite sure what I will plant in the spots that are now vacant.

By this time of year, peonies are not looking their best. I have not yet planted my new peonies in the ground. But this is the month to do it. I am cutting my herbaceous peonies to the ground. For tree peonies, I will only remove the leaves, I will NOT cut tree peony stems. I will dispose of all the old foliage outside of the garden in case there is any fungus.

My dahlias and other tubers that have to be dug up still have time to bloom. They are filled with buds. Tubers do most of their growing in the short days of autumn so I will lift them only when their foliage has been blackened by the first frosts.

I am thinking of planting some window boxes with pansies or crocuses for spring. If you have window boxes, the summer flowers should be cleaned out.

This is the best time of year to plant them- up until the time when the ground is too hard to dig because it is frozen. But if it is digable, then plant your trees. I have two baby Tulip poplars that self seeded. I plan on transplanting them and hope they grow.

The news keeps on repeating how beneficial exercise is, so I might as well be doing it in my garden.

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