University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
GARLIC AND OTHER OCTOBER GARDENING TIPS
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension
garden tools, digging and storing dahlias, and planting garlic are
some of the
gardening tips for this month.
preparing tools for storage by cleaning them once you're finished
Wipe the soil off shovels, spades, and trowels using a rag or wire
wipe blades with an oiled cloth. Make sure pruners are free from
dirt and plant
debris, and wipe down the blades with the oiled cloth. Empty any
pots of dead plants
and soil, adding the debris to the compost pile unless the plants
diseased. In that case, dispose of the plants in the garbage or a
away from your garden. Rinse pots, or better yet, soak them in a
water to which some bleach (one part to nine parts water) has been
for a half hour or so, then rinse well.
the first frost blackens the foliage of dahlias (or if a hard freeze
predicted), cut off the stems about 6 inches above the tubers.
the clumps with a spade or fork, and rinse them off. Let them dry
out of direct
sun and wind for a day (not too long or they'll begin to shrivel).
tuber clumps whole, or carefully separate the tubers from the stem,
to include any "eyes" (small, raised nubs near where the tubers
attach to the main stem) with each tuber. These are the future
tubers in ventilated plastic bags filled with peat moss,
sawdust. Place bags in a box and keep them in a dark, 35- to
location. Check every week or two to
make sure they aren’t too wet, or shriveling from dryness.
garlic now for harvesting next summer. Purchase garlic sold
planting, locally adapted varieties from garden stores being best.
non-organic, supermarket garlic may have been treated to inhibit
Break the garlic head into individual cloves, keeping the largest
planting. (Use the small cloves for cooking.)
Add compost before planting. Plant cloves about 2 inches deep, and
apart with the pointed side up. Try some different varieties to see
prefer. Mulch the bed well with straw.
pruning woody plants now because it will encourage a flush of new
may be damaged by the upcoming cold temperatures. Instead, wait
winter or early spring to prune most trees and shrubs. (Exceptions
to this rule
are spring-blooming shrubs, such as lilacs and rhododendrons, which
pruned after flowering.)
you test your soil and add any needed amendments now, the soil will
for planting when you are in the spring. Some amendments take time
down and become available to plants. If you have a nearby state
Service office, you can take advantage of their low-priced soil
service. Or get a do-it-yourself kit. Most plants prefer a slightly
with a pH of 6.5 to 6.8 (a pH of 7 is neutral). New England soils
tend to be
acidic and frequently require the addition of lime. Soil can vary
even within a yard, so if you notice different characteristics of
the soil in different beds, test them separately.
you haven't yet done so, cover your late crops of lettuce and
polyester row covers to keep them warmer as the night temperatures
dip close to
freezing. The covers also will keep the leaves from getting damaged
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).