Many local nurseries (especially Randy’s Perennials and Water Gardens) will be offering some great deals this month, so October is a good time to be planting perennials, trees, and shrubs. In much of our area, it’s safe to plant trees and shrubs if the ground isn’t frozen, as long as you’re willing to provide adequate warmth for the roots to really dig their toes into the soil. The average first frost date across northern Georgia ranges from October 10 in the upper northeast corner, to October 25-30 in much of the north metro-Atlanta area, and to November 5-10 in southwest and southeast metro Atlanta areas.
Even though the weather is cooling down, plants, shrubs, and newly planted trees still need to be watered to avoid stress. Shallow rooted and container plants will be especially susceptible to drying out if we experience a typical dryish fall.
Depending on when you want your amaryllis to bloom, it’s getting to be about time to crank up the bloom cycle. The link to our blog on maintaining amaryllis appears in the list of links at the end of this month’s gardening guide.
Here comes the broken record part of the gardening guide. Keep cleaning up the debris and dying plants from flower beds and vegetable gardens. Toss the diseased plant matter, but be sure to compost the rest. This is a good time to apply compost to beds that won’t be replanted until late winter or early spring. This gives the compost ample time to break down further and enrich the soil. If you’re planning on using cover crops for weed control and turning under to enrich the soil, you still have time to plant them. There’s still time to plant another crop of late fall and winter crops, preferably in the form of transplants.
As quickly as you deplete your supply of mature compost, you’ll be creating a new batch for next spring. It’s best to ensure a good mix of both green and brown materials in your compost pile, and if possible, shred your fallen leaves to shorten the time required for them to decompose. If you’re not happy with the current location of your compost pile, this is the ideal time to move it. There’s a link to our guide on composting just below.
Continue harvesting any tomatoes you have left, even if they’re green, as you can ripen them indoors. If you have any potatoes or sweet potatoes in the garden, be sure to harvest them before they freeze. Any tender perennial or annual herbs that you want to overwinter should be potted and placed in safe, sunny locations, especially in the colder parts of the state.
For additional information on fall gardening chores, take a look at our blog titled “Taking Care of Fall Business”, the link for which is just below. And if you’re a pumpkin fiend, we also have a link to our blog for you below. I have a Long Island Cheese that’s almost a year old now, and I’ll be cooking it soon. Maybe.