October 2013 Horticulture Report

In the Ornamental Garden:

  • Rake up leaves, twigs from crabapple trees to reduce apple scab.
  • Dig up dahlia bulbs after a hard frost.  Cut back the tops.  Dry in warm sun for 2 days and brush off the soil.  Dust with a fungicide and store in vermiculite.
  • Lift and harvest tender bulbs and corms such as cannas, caladiums, gladiolas, and tuberous begonias.  Put them in a well-ventilated area for 2-3 weeks to dry.  Cut of stems with a sharp knife. Dust with a Bordeaux mixture to prevent rot.  Store in a cool, dark place in vermiculite.
  • Plant fall bulbs.  Do not add bone meal to the soil when planting bulbs.  The scent of thebone meal may attract squirrels, dogs, and other animals that will dig them up.  Work bulb fertilizer into the soil next spring after the flowers fade.
  • Pot up spring flowering bulbs to force into bloom.  Moisten soil and place in refrigerator for 10-12 weeks.  After the cooling period, move to a cool sunny location to induce bloom.
  • Erect barriers such as chicken wire or hardware cloth to protect newly planted trees and shrubs from rabbit damage during the winter.

In the Edible Garden:

  • Remove weeds from the garden so that insects do not overwinter in them.
  • Fry or pickle small green tomatoes that will not ripen.
  • Do not compost diseased plants. Bag or burn diseased plants.
  • Dig up the vegetable garden after a killing frost and add a 2-4 inch layer of organic material.
  • Remove dead plants so that they do not provide a place for insects to live over the winter.

In the Indoor Garden:

  • Reduce watering and fertilization of houseplants as days get shorter.
  • Plant grapefruit and orange seeds in potting soil; they  make a nice foliage plant.
  • Give holiday cacti short days and cool nights to initiate flowering.  They are short-day plants and will bloom when it is dark at least 15 hours at night.  They will also flower if exposed to temperatures between 50-55 degrees.  No flowers will form if night-time temperatures are above 70 degrees.  Place plants in a cool room where no lights are used at night, to induce flowering.