Tofino gardening in October
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Fall is definitely here, and hopefully we will not see the copious amounts (had to use a big word, lots and lots) of rain we saw last year. But even so, rain or not there are still many gardening chores to be done.
Keep leaves raked off of the lawn, and out of rose beds, these rotting leaves can harbor bugs and disease, although composting them is a great idea and will be beneficial to the garden in the spring. While you are in the garden raking, pull up any annual weeds that are left, and cut back any dead or dying leaves from perennials, and if the plant is sort of going dormant, why leave it and have to back a couple of weeks, just cut it off now.
If you are so inclined, dig up any summer blooming bulbs and tubers, such as Begonias, Dahlias and Gladiolus, clean them up, sprinkle on some sulphur dust to keep away bugs etc, and store them in a nice dry spot for winter. If you have a pond, clean out any dead leaves, and again this is the opportunity to divide those plants and increase you stock.
Pot up your Amaryllis bulbs within the next month to get them to blossom by Christmas. And finish potting up spring blooming bulbs, add some greenery to the pot, such as cedar branches, salal, and alder twigs for two reasons, (1) so the pots not just empty on the deck, and (2) in the spring, this gives the stems a frame work to lean on, so the winds don't catch them.
Those beautiful baskets and planters that you kept watered and fertilized all summer are probably done for the season, empty them out, compost the plants and soil, and either clean out, dry and store it for the winter, or refill it with some winter blooming pansies and fall mums and asters. I even put some short rockery bulbs and naturalizing tulips and daffodils in hanging pots for by the front door, then pot pansies over top of that.
This is still a good time to transplant any new trees and shrubs or perennials to your garden. Let them get there feet settles and roots growing before the winter comes and the ground get
Lawns could use a last spread of fertilizer and lime for the year, again to give it a head start.
October determines witch chores get done first, but don't stress about it, at least here on the coast, hopefully this year, we have another month to continue cleaning up, and maybe if we're lucky, our brooms will sweep up behind us.
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino.
Tofino gardening tips for October 2007. Written by Trina Mattson in Tofino for Tofino Time magazine.