It's a beautiful time of the year! Enjoy fall foliage, pumpkins, harvest celebrations, or apple picking. Once you're done, there are still garden chores to do. It's cooler and easier to work and you'll get a jump on spring!
Peonies and daylilies. This is the best month to divide and move these plants. It's especially good for herbaceous peonies which tend to be finicky if moved at the wrong time.
Bulbs. You don't want to plant bulbs too early. Bulbs are best planted once temperatures are consistently around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler temperatures will promote root development, critical for blooming in the spring.
A covering of pea gravel or chicken wire will deter critters such as mice from digging out your bulbs. If animals are a problem, daffodils are your choice and they come in a variety of colors other than just yellow.
Garlic. The middle of October is prime time to plant garlic. Plant the largest cloves and save the smaller sizes for eating.
Weeding, mulching and soil testing. Winter annual weeds such as hairy bittercress need to be pulled now; weeding now will help minimize problems in the spring.
There's still time to mulch garden beds; recycling your leaves for mulch will naturally return nutrients to the soil and help plants. There's still time to get your soil tested; doing this now will allow you to fix problems and save time in the spring. Soil pH, the measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of soil which determines how easily soil can absorb nutrients, is especially important and can be determined by a soil test.
For more information about how to take a soil sample and what to do, visit cceoneida.com/home-garden/gardening/soils-climate/soil-testing-diagnostic-services. Happy fall gardening!
Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County answers home and garden questions which can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315-736-3394, press 1 and ext. 333. Leave your question, name and phone number. Questions are answered weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also, visit our website at cceoneida.com.
This article originally appeared on Observer-Dispatch: Fall gardening tip: Keep an eye on soil pH, plant bulbs and garlic