October Gardening In The US Northern Plains

October’s bright blue weather sees the end of the garden show over our Northern Plains. Numerous things need to be done before freeze-up.

Dig dahlias after the first killing frost. Cut tops back to near ground level and lift clumps carefully to avoid mechanical injury to the fleshy roots. Either store or divide clumps, allowing roots to dry for a day or two before storage.

northern plains gardening octoberPin

Store in a cool place protected from frost. Pack in dry sand or vermiculite to prevent excessive drying.

Dig And Store Gladiolus Now

Lift corms and allow them to dry. Then remove the tops, most of the papery leaf bases, and last spring’s corms which will be shriveled and dead. To increase variety, save the small bulblets from the new corm’s base.

Label as to variety and store in paper bags. Add a teaspoon of five percent DDT powder to each bag and shake to destroy thrips.

Plant tulips, narcissus, crocus, and some of the new and exciting lily hybrids. To add interest and variety to your garden, plant snowdrops, grape hyacinth, and species tulips.

Mound bases of hybrid tea and floribunda roses. Even if the foliage is still green, mound them anyway. Early mounding insures against winter kill. Cover the lower few inches of stem with soil before hard freezes.

Try Something Different

Harvest seeds of various trees and chubs. Prepare a bed and plant at once or mix with moist soil and refrigerate. Roses, flowering crabs, junipers, oaks, and walnuts grow from seed.

Of course, roses and crab apples from seed are not true to variety but produce something new and different. In any case, you’ll have a new experience of gardening.

44659 by Glenn Viehmeyer