Tips for New Hampshire gardeners in October
- Prevent garden disease issues, like apple scab, by thoroughly raking up all fallen leaves from diseased plants and disposing of them.
- Do not add diseased foliage to the compost pile unless you are sure it will get hot enough (140℉) to kill the pathogen.
- Cut back perennials that are diseased but leave healthy seed heads standing. Songbirds and beneficial insects may use dried, remaining plants for food and shelter throughout the winter months. All perennials left standing for the winter should be cut to the ground in the spring before new growth starts.
- Dig and save tender bulbs such as dahlias, cannas, and gladiolus. Wash the soil from the bulbs or tubers, and let them dry for a few days out of direct sunlight. Pack them in peat moss, vermiculite, or wood shavings and store them in a cool dry place throughout the winter.
- Bring houseplants back indoors before hard frost. Carefully check for insect and disease issues before hauling plants inside.
- Harvest and store the last vegetables in the garden. Root crops can be left in the ground almost up until the soil freezes. Winter squash should be harvested before frost and when their skins are hard enough to resist puncture from a fingernail. Carrots, potatoes, onions, pumpkins, and squash can be kept for several months if they are handled carefully and kept in a cool and humid place.
- Proof your home before insects and rodents take up residence for the winter. Seal up openings around the edges and sides of windows, doors, and utility openings.
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