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Garden Checklist for October By Mario Villarino

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Here the recommended activities for the garden in October according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension:

  1. Carefully harvest material for dried arrangements at this time. Choose cockscomb, flowering artemisia, already mature okra pods, flowering oregano stalks and others to enhance fall and winter bouquets.
  2. October through November is an excellent time to purchase bulbs while you still have a good selection in the garden center. They may be planted at any time with the exception of tulips and hyacinths.
  3. Chill tulip and hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator until mid or late December before planting. The lower part of the refrigerator is best. Do not leave bulbs in airtight plastic bags during refrigerated storage.
  4. Plant bulbs in well prepared beds so the base of the bulb is at a depth that is three times the diameter of the bulb. In sandy soil, set slightly deeper and in clay soils less deeply.
  5. Start collecting leaves for the compost pile. Be sure to have extra soil available so that each 6 inch layer of leaves may be covered with several inches of soil. Always wet the layer of leaves thoroughly before adding the soil. Add about one pound of a complete lawn or garden fertilizer to each layer of leaves to provide the necessary nitrogen for decomposition.
  6. In addition to bulbs, check your nursery or garden center for started plants of snapdragons, pinks, sweet williams, poppies, and calendulas. Planted now in south and east Texas, they will usually provide a riot of spring color; wait until late winter or early spring to plant in north Texas.
  7. Keep Christmas cactus in a sunny spot where night temperatures can be kept below 65 degrees F. Buds will drop if you allow night temperatures to go above 70 degrees F. or if you allow the plant to become excessively dry. They should also be kept in total darkness from 5:00 pm until 8:00 am for about 30 days in October to initiate flower buds.
  8. If you have saved seeds of your favorite plants, allow them to become air dry, then place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Be sure to label each packet carefully. Remember, seed from hybrid plants will seldom resemble the parent plant.
  9. Prepare beds for planting pansies when they become available at the garden centers. They need a well-drained soil and exposure to at least a half-day of sun. It is best to use started plants, as seeds are difficult to handle.
  10. If you are planning to save caladium tubers for another year, dig them in late October, and allow to dry in a well ventilated but shady area. After 7 to 10 days, remove leaves and dirt, then pack in dry peat moss, vermiculite, or similar material for storage. Pack tubers so they do not touch each other. Dust with all-purpose fungicide as you pack. Place container in an area where temperature won’t drop below 50 degrees F.

Coming Up:

Ribeye Cook Off with NETBIO- Sulphur Springs Downtown, October 5, 2018    $25  

Field Day for Producers and Grasslands Managers- October 26, 2018- Free

DOPA Training- Southwest Dairy Museum, October 31, 2018- $10.

Basic Tree Care Training- November 1, 2018, 6:00 PM    $10.

Private Applicator Credits- Regional Civic Center- November 7, 2018- $30  10:00 AM

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training- November 14, 2018- $40     8:30 AM

For more information on this or for registration contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443.

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Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D. Hopkins County Extension Agent for Ag and NR 1200B Houston Street Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482 903-885-3443

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Author: Savannah Everett

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