October is the month to re-pot any houseplants that have outgrown their container. Never go up more than one or two inches (for very large plants) in pot size when repotting. Remove any rotten or mushy roots. Pry apart matted or circling roots, and cut off those that are too compacted. Doing this ensures so the remaining roots will reach out into the new soil. When re-potting, start with a coffee filter (or similar) over the pot’s drain hole to contain the soil, and then add a layer of soil. Hold the plant at the level you want it to sit and add soil around it to stand it upright (with large plants you may need an assistant). Firm the soil but do not pack it down. Water thoroughly until it runs out the bottom. Set the container aside and add more water until you are certain the entire pot is wet. Use a pot saucer to catch any overflow and place the plant in its new home.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
In the vegetable garden, dig your potatoes and harvest winter squash before that first frost hits. Frost on a pumpkin is quaint; frost on a butternut squash turns it to unusable mush. Harvest winter squash with one inch of stem attached. Clean then dip in a 10% bleach solution and dry before putting away for the winter.
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Mow leaves into the lawn this fall and be rewarded with healthier soil for the lawn next spring. If you use a bag attached to the mower to catch the chopped leaves, spread those chopped leaves as a mulch around trees and shrubs, and also in your perennial beds. The leaf-grass mix can also be added to the vegetable garden or, of course, your compost pile. Healthy leaves in garden beds can be left in place now, or, if you are a neatnik, rake leaves off beds, chip them up by running over the leaves repeatedly with your mulching mower, and return them to the beds. They will return the nutrients to the soil over the winter. If you are into neither mowing nor raking, spread a layer of compost over the garden beds and let Mother Nature do all the work of breaking down your leaves.