While the Organizing Blog never advocates buying more #stuff than you really need, savvy shoppers can often find springtime gardening essentials such as gloves, tools, pots and planters among the castoffs at local thrift stores supplied by your generous donations to ClothingDonations.org. And if you need to get rid of some of your lightly used (but disused) gardening equipment and other household items as you start spring cleaning, now is the time to schedule a #donation pickup!
Want to make your garden ecofriendly, biodiverse and sustainable? Garden Design recommends planting an oak or native fruit tree to provide a butterfly habitat, adding a bird bath, adding a naturalized “meadow” area with native “weeds” such as milkweed, and growing flowering vines to attract hummingbirds without having to fill a feeder with sugar water. A garden tailored to your area’s climate tends to use less water and allows gardeners better options for treating pests without chemicals.
Even before your region sees the final blast of winter, you can start planting a vegetable garden. Plant snow peas first; seeds can go in the ground four to six weeks before the final frost and be harvested in 60 days. Once the threat of a final freeze has passed, continue on to plant radishes, lettuce, and kale, SmartPots suggests; you can usually sow ungerminated seeds and harvest delicious fresh foodstuffs within a month. “Planting early spring vegetables brings both sanity to the winter-weary gardener and homegrown goodness to the kitchen,” the story says.
Don’t let the snow start falling without first taking care of your lawn, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says. To ensure a lush, green expanse of grass in the spring, rake and dethatch your lawn, then aerate it to reduce soil compaction. October is a good time to fertilize, weed and seed your lawn, too, to promote new growth that crowds out broadleaf weeds. Buy a soil test kit from your local garden center to if you’re having trouble establishing grass and other plants; you’ll want to balance soil to about 6.5 pH and may need to add lime, sulfur, potash, potassium and other enhancements to get your grass to grow.
October is the perfect time to plant the bulbs that will bring your garden color next spring and throughout the year, says the Dodge City Daily Globe. Most flowering bulbs perform well in conditions with full sun to part shade, and sandy loam or ameliorated garden soils with a pH of 6.0–7.0. Planting depths vary — large bulbs such as tulips should be planted about 6″ deep, while smaller bulbs need as little as 2″ of soil cover. Plant bulbs in clumps for best results in display; they are not “row” flowers like many annuals. Keep the soil moist, add a layer of mulch, and wait for the spring thaw and colorful blooms!