University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
DIGGING DAHLIAS AND OTHER OCTOBER
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension
dahlia tubers and storing them for winter, planting garlic now for
next July, and testing soil, are some of the gardening activities
the first frost blackens the foliage of dahlias, cut off the stems
about 6 inches
above the tubers (the large swollen roots). Carefully dig the clumps
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). Store the tuber
in ventilated plastic bags filled with peat moss, vermiculite, or
sawdust. Or you can pot into barely moist soil. Place bags in a
box and keep them, or pots, in a dark, 35- to 50-degree F location
cellar or unheated garage.
gladiolus corms (their flattened storage bulbs) when leaves have
back—much later in fall than the dahlias.
Shake dirt off, cut leaves off near the corm, and store in paper
bags. They are not as fussy about
moisture and storage as dahlias, but don’t let them freeze either.
garlic now for harvesting next summer. Purchase garlic sold
planting, or buy organic garlic. Garlic bought in grocery stores for
may have been treated to not sprout, and are usually not adapted to
climate. Try some different varieties to
see which you prefer.
the garlic head into individual cloves, keeping the largest ones for
(Use the small cloves for cooking.) Plant cloves about 3-inches
apart, 2-inches deep, with the pointed side up. Mulch the bed well
with straw. Use crop rotation to avoid diseases—don’t
where you grew it, onions, or cabbage last year.
pruning woody plants now because this will encourage a flush of new
will likely be damaged by the upcoming cold temperatures. Instead,
late winter or early spring to prune most trees and shrubs,
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 Extension
office, you can take advantage of their low-priced soil testing
not, you can send a soil sample away to a soil lab, or get a
kit. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.5 to
6.8 (a pH of
7 is neutral). New England soils tend to be acidic and frequently
addition of lime. But your soil can vary from location to location
yard, so if you notice different characteristics of the soil in
test them separately.
as it is to do, refrain from cutting any more roses and let the
hips) form. This will signal to the plant that it's time to harden
winter. Don't spread winter mulch around roses until after the
mid to late November is a good time.
Usually the first half of
the month is when you’ll stop mowing.
Keeping grass mowed, going into winter, will help prevent snow mold
disease on taller, packed-down grass.
Keep leaves raked from lawns so they don’t smother the grass.
Spread a thin topping of compost on the lawn
after you rake up leaves, and rake again to settle the compost.
Other gardening tips for this month include checking
and replacing faded garden labels, carving pumpkins, and planting
other spring bulbs if you haven’t done so already.
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).