In the garden, there is much to do this time of year. There is ongoing clean up with falling leaves, and some plants need to be dug and stored. The flower beds will get a covering of mulch, making sure to keep the rhizomes of the irises clear. If you compost plant materials, this is a great time to add to your bins. October is also the ideal time for planting bulbs for color next spring. If you plant by the moon cycles, this weekend (19th-21st) is the most favorable for planting above ground crops, which I assume would include flowers. The next best time is October 28 and 29, which is good for seed beds and flower gardens. After that is November 6-7, if it isn’t too cold in your area by then.
Clear out a section for your bulbs, dig down about three times the height of the bulb, then spread some bone meal for the extra phosphorus to aid in flower formation. Place the bulbs root side down, and cover. Last year I think the squirrels got some of my daffodil bulbs, so this year I am adding some wire mesh to help keep the critters out.
Some flowers are still going, mainly because it is still so warm. By now we should have been in the 40s at night and most of these flowers would be gone.
Wildlife is a bit more abundant on our mountainside in the fall, as migrating animals come through and others are looking for a good meal before hibernating. Just this past weekend, I was surprised to see a mother bear and two cubs in the front of the house.
I eased out to the veranda with the camera to try to get a better picture, as they were pretty far away on the retaining wall. Mom must weigh close to 300 pounds.
They all scampered off pretty quickly, they are more afraid of us than we are of them. The cubs were really cute, probably around 100 pounds each by now.
Then, that same afternoon, our local woodchuck visited the meadow for a meal.
And the little turkey flock is still coming by for a handout on almost a daily basis.
The male really does believe himself to be quite special. So, of course I tell him he is a handsome fellow, and he puffs and preens even more!
Anyway, back to the garden, it is time to bring in and store the large bulbs in planters like the Curcuma Ginger. These need a dormant time, so I’ll cut off the yellowing leaves and put them in a dark cool area to rest for a few weeks.
I am hoping to get more amaryllis flowers out of both these bulbs. Not all amaryllis need a rest period, but mine seem to need about 8 weeks, then another 8 to bloom. Starting now, I hope to have blooms by mid-February when it is cold outside and nothing else will be blooming.
My Thanksgiving Cactus will bloom next month, so I bring it inside to the kitchen to keep it from getting too cold at night. I’ll give it more water now and a bit of fertilizer too, to encourage the blooms. I use Miracle Grow liquid (a few drops in the watering can) for my houseplants.
Now is the time to stop watering the begonia, in the hopes I can dig the tubers and have them survive over the winter. I have two that are still blooming profusely, but I need to let them dry out and die down a bit before there is a killing frost. Naturally, I didn’t move them under cover, and it rained this week, so I’ll have to wait a bit longer and hope it doesn’t freeze.
For my fresh herbs like this parsley, I want to get them cut and frozen before we have a frost.
I remove the pretty and flavorful leaves, washing them thoroughly and discarding the stems.
I do the same with all the remaining basil.
Pat the leaves almost dry, leaving just a tiny bit of moisture inside the bags. Store in the freezer. The advantage to this is when the leaves are completely frozen, they will break up and crush very easily. Add the herbs to whatever dish you like. The flavor is bright like fresh herbs when used. Be sure to label your bags, as the crushed bits all look the same.
Back to the veranda, I’ll keep watering the true annuals to have nice foliage and a few more flowers before winter.
The torenias will last until a hard freeze.
Now inside, I have a little garden in the kitchen now, with the Thanksgiving Cactus and my two African violets. This year I might try to keep a couple of fresh herbs inside as well. I’ll have to figure that out over the next few weeks, see what I have in seeds, and maybe try to save some of that parsley.
What’s going on in your garden?
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