I see that old hammock out back,
Swaying lightly in the wind
That Autumn oft expels in October,
Waiting for me to come and dream,
But the bulbs that fill my tired Hands,
leaving trails of rusty earth
Must first be laid to rest,
I must tend to their needs first.
– B. R. Jording, “Fall Planting”
For the lawn:
- Mow your lawn a little shorter than usual to help prevent snow mold. You can apply a lawn fertilizer formulated for fall now.
- Clean up any leaves, blow-down and damaged plant material to discourage pests.
In the garden (a busy month!):
- Harvest and store your fruit and vegetables for the winter:
Dig and store potatoes in a dark location.
Ripen green tomatoes indoors or in a paper bag.
Harvest and store apples in a cool place at about 40 degrees.
- Plant garlic. It will overwinter and be ready to harvest next summer.
- Spray apple and fruit trees to prevent disease.
- If you have empty garden spots, cover with leaves, manure, or compost. Or, plant winter cover crops such as rye grass or clover. All will enrich the soil and keep weeds away.
- Dig up and repot herb plants to bring them inside for the winter; keep them in a sunny place.
- Trim or stake your bushy perennial plants to avoid any wind damage.
- Apply a layer of mulch around your roses, azaleas, rhododendrons, and berry plants for winter protection.
- Protect grafted roses. Before the ground freezes, mound soil about 12 inches in and around canes, making sure graft is completely covered.
- Save seeds from your favorite vegetable, fruit, and flower plants. Dry the seeds and store them in airtight containers in a cool and dry place over the winter.
- Dig and divide rhubarb every 4 years.
- Dig out geraniums if you are overwintering.
- Clean up your around your beds and fruit trees. Remove fallen fruit, dead leaves and any diseased plants to help prevent insects and diseases from overwintering in your garden.