Don’t forget fall garden tasks

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Fall does not mean the end of the gardening season. Actually, fall can be an even better time for gardening activities than the spring. Still skeptical? Let’s look at the many tasks that can get you out into the garden.

October is a great time to set out new landscape plants. If you are looking for a fall or winter interest shrub, consider the native beautyberry (Callicarpa); a tree, try witch hazel with winter yellow flowers; or an ornamental grass, like Muhly with beautiful pink plumes. Continue planting pansies, violas and other cool season annuals now.

If you do not have a fall vegetable garden, plant cover crops like annual rye, barley or wheat in your garden beds. If you have a fall vegetable garden, your lettuce, carrots, radishes and leafy greens should be growing. One of the last things to put into the ground is onion sets, so do so as soon as possible.

Once the first frost kills back herbaceous perennials, you can prune them, but I tend to leave this task closer to spring.

If you reseeded tall fescue or over seeded rye grass, you need to keep the newly seeded areas watered. You will also want to keep tree leaves from collecting on your lawn. Those raked leaves can go into your compost bin.

Divide and transplant crowded clumps of spring and summer flowering perennials, such as hostas or Shasta daisies.

Soil samples are free until Thanksgiving, so be sure to test your plant beds and vegetable garden. Dig and store summer bulbs like caladiums before frost.

Lastly, prepare your garden equipment for winter storage. It is a great time to clean shovels, sharpen blades and put in a fuel stabilizer. Store leftover fertilizers in a dry location for use next spring.

For more information on gardening call 252-237-0113 and leave a message for a Master Gardener or email them at Wilsonemgv@hotmail.com.

Cyndi Lauderdale is horticulture extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension.