It's not too late for October tasks

Garden Gnome

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I could swear Oct. 1 was just yesterday and here it is almost November.

Once flowers like these chrysanthemums die back, cut dead stems and remove. Plants can be divided and moved once they finish blooming. SANDY HODSON
Once flowers like these chrysanthemums die back, cut dead stems and remove. Plants can be divided and moved once they finish blooming. SANDY HODSON

But fortunately for those of us who have limited time to spend gardening, most of those October chores are still possible in November in our area of Georgia and South Carolina. That’s a good thing if you also haven’t finished dividing overgrown perennials and putting in the new pansies.

So while the weather holds out, consider tackling the following chores in November:

It’s time to plant seeds of poppy, larkspur and sweet alyssum. If you have ever fallen in love with Delphinium, only to have your heart broken when it literally fries in our summer heat, larkspur is the answer. It’s just as pretty and much tougher in the heat.

The winter annuals such as pansies will benefit from a fertilizer specially made for winter flowers, such as PansyMate from our local Bricko Farms.

You can still get bulbs in. Fertilize new bulbs with a fertilizer specially made for bulbs, and topdress established bulbs with compost.

The perennials will also benefit from a good addition of compost. You can continue to add new plants and divide old ones this month. As the spring and summer bloomers die down, cut and remove to keep the area tidy, which discourages insects and disease.

It’s also a good time to thoroughly clean tools and pots with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.

As it gets colder, mulch will be needed, especially for newly planted shrubs. They can also benefit from an application of compost or balanced fertilizer. This is a good time to plant new shrubs and take cuttings from favorites that stay green throughout the winter.

If you are doing winter vegetables, watch out for aphids and keep the area weeded and clean.

As the chore list shortens, take advantage of the down time to walk around and make notes about the garden. Keep a garden notebook to note which plants did well, what new plants were added and problems you had this year. Keep an eye on new plantings to ensure they have enough water and are safely tucked in for the winter.

Thanks for the advice goes to Walter Reeves and Erica Glasener’s Month-By-Month Gardening in Georgia, Nancy J. Ondra’s The Perennial Care Manual, and Sid Mullis’s Gardening Calendar, which you can find at www.caes.uga.edu/extension/richmond.


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