Monthly Maintenance Checklists for Your Garden: Autumn

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A gardener's job is never complete, and while some may see late September and early October as a time to put everything away and forget about gardening until next May, true gardeners know that this is the best time to prepare for the spring garden.

Gardening Tasks for September

Harvest - Harvest seeds from clemantis.

Plant - Plant early spring and summer bulbs (narcissi, lilies, irises, etc.). Also, plant hardy annual and perennial seeds now so they bloom next season.

Transplant - Some perennials are tagged as soft perennials, which means they're treated as annuals in colder regions. If you have soft perennials, consider transplanting them to pots and storing them in a warmer, frost-free area.

Till - As you pull up annuals that have completed a job well done, turn over the soil in preparation for next spring.

Feed - Feed shrubs and rose bushes with sulfur of potash to help them survive the winter.

Clean - Wash, sanitize, and store garden tools and equipment.

Shop - Don't forget to check out end-of-season sales at local nurseries and home improvement stores. This is a great time to pick up solar lights, garden decorations, shrubs, rose bushes, trees, soil, fertilizer, and patio furniture

Gardening Tasks for October

Plant - In October, the only flowers left in cold-weather states are mums, dahlias, and other healthy and hardy species. Aren't you pleasantly surprised each year at how much longer flowers seem to last? It’s not uncommon to have alyssum, lobelia, and even Gerber Daisies still green and in bloom in October. Once the garden area is trimmed, pruned, and weeded, and the soil has been turned over, add fertilizer to help the plants over the winter.

Plant - Divide and plant hostas. Plant sweet peas, forget-me-nots, snapdragon, campanula, larkspur, pansies, California poppies, and wallflower seeds for next year's garden.

Trim - Trim rose bushes to help them stand the winter.

Gardening Tasks for November

Mulch - Mulch the area around the base of azaleas and other spring-flowering shrubs.

Plant - Plant bare-rooted rose bushes and other shrubs.

Relocate - Bring perennials grown in pots into a garage or shed.