University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
PLANTING GARLIC AND OTHER OCTOBER
Nardozzi, Horticulturist and
Perry, UVM Extension Horticulturist
Planting garlic for next summer’s
harvest, cutting back Brussel’s sprouts, and digging up dahlias are
some of the
gardening activities for this month.
Now is the time to plant garlic for
harvest next summer. Purchase garlic sold specifically for planting,
organic garlic. Commercial, nonorganic, supermarket garlic may have
treated to inhibit sprouting. Plant individual cloves, root end down
side up), 2 inches deep and 8 inches apart, in well-drained,
soil. Once the ground freezes, cover the garlic bed with 6-inches of
shredded leaves for winter protection.
To get the sprouts to ripen faster,
pinch off the top couple of inches of your Brussel’s sprouts plants
their energy into the sprouts that are already developing along the
off any lower leaves that have yellowed, and keep plants watered if
weather is dry.
When frost blackens the tops of
dahlias, cut the foliage back to 2 inches tall, then dig up the
them dry for a day or two, but not too long or they will start to
shrivel. Brush off any loose dirt and store in a plastic
crate or cardboard box, lined with perforated plastic, and filled
with dry peat
moss, wood shavings, or other similar material.
Keep moist but not wet or they will rot.
Store in a cool, dark area between 35-45 degrees F.
When cleaning up the flower garden
in fall, leave some the seedheads to feed the birds. The seedheads
like purple coneflower (Echinacea),
black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia),
coreopsis and cosmos will provide a tasty treat for birds such as
Keep watering trees and shrubs,
especially evergreens, which were newly planted this growing
season until the ground freezes. Although the tops of woody plants
dormant, their roots are still active until late in the season.
Weed your perennial gardens and
shrub beds thoroughly in the fall and you'll have fewer weed
problems to begin the following year. It's also a good time to edge
The foliage of evergreens can be
injured over the winter by the drying effects of wind and sun,
they are planted in a southern or western exposure. Protect plants
winter with burlap screens.
If you test your soil and
add any needed amendments now, the soil will be ready for planting
when you are
in the spring. Contact your local university
Extension office for a soil-testing kit, also available at many
stores. Since your soil can vary from
location to location in your yard, if you notice different
the soil in different beds, test them separately.
All you need to “force” bulbs
indoors is a place that stays cool but above freezing (35 to 45
degrees is best). Pot up daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, grape
hyacinths, and other spring bulbs that need such a cold treatment,
them well. For the best show, don't mix
different types of bulbs in one pot unless you're sure they bloom at
same time. Then place the pots in cool storage for about 12 to 16
on them periodically and water when the soil is dry. Unlike the
spring daffodils, paperwhite
narcissus don’t need a cold treatment.
Other gardening tips for this month
include checking and replacing faded garden labels, carving
a local apple orchard, and baking fresh apple pies.
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).