October Gardening

The air and the sky tell you it’s fall.  It’s definitely October – a good time to garden.  Here are some of the things you might do in October.

Your lawns can be overseeded this month if you didn’t get to it in September.  Have some fun and give your lawn some trail mix -- a little compost, some cocoa fibre, a bit of bone meal, and even something a bit different such as President’s Choice palletized compost would be quite tasty for your lawn.  Into this mix, add the best seed you can afford and rake the mixture into your lawn.  The cool days are perfect for germinating grass seed and your trail mix will take your lawn through the winter and into the spring in good shape. 

Get those spring bulbs into the ground now.  Tulips can be planted up until the ground freezes but daffodils should be planted earlier.

Rake the leaves off your lawn.  Leaves left on lawns cause spring problems.  But don’t get rid of those leaves! Chop them and put them on your perennial beds.  Chopped leaves are a treat for the soil in your garden.  By May they’ll all be gone if you chop them fine enough.  I use a Flowtron leaf chopper but a weed whacker in a large garbage pail will do the trick.  Last year I put about 3 inches of leaves on the garden with great results. 

Continue to transplant shrubs, bushes and trees through October.

Give a light pruning to roses and ramblers.  Don’t cut them back too much.  The fall pruning is just to reduce the effects of winter wind.

Lift and store your tender bulbs after the first hard frost.  Dahlias and cannas can take a day or two of drying off before they are put into their winter bed.

Apply a Tanglefoot band on your fruit trees to catch overwintering moths.  Many moths go down the trunk and into the soil for the winter.  Tanglefoot will impede the progress!

Plant garlic before the soil is too cold.  Plant lots of garlic!

Lift those plants you want to remove from your garden.  They are easier to see and identify in the fall than in the early spring.

Take long walks, breathe, relax – it’s fall.



And just for you, a link to my latest presentation: A New Kind of Gardener

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Pollinator Patches

"Be the change you want to see in the world." When Mahatma Ghandi said that he must have been thinking about Pollinator Patches. You can make a difference in your world this year by creating a Pollinator Patch -- a habitat for native bees.

To help you build your own Pollinator Patch, see our Roadsides Guide.

Roadsides Guide to Creating Pollinator Patches

The first Pollinator Patch was planted in Barrie, Ontario, in May of 2010. Visit the Roadsides site, read the blog, and be sure to look at the gallery to see pictures of the creation of Pollinator Patch from Year 1 to the Weaning Year 5.

Roadsides web site


Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do. --Wendell Barry



Jottings contains some articles I wrote for the monthly newsletter of Barrie's Garden Club and other projects. I hope you enjoy them.


It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams (1902-1984)


Hints & Tricks

This is a collection of neat ideas and crazy tricks that I've collected from various sources. Many are amusing, and most are useful. We gardeners just love to learn neat little ways of doing our gardening jobs more effectively. My most popular talk is just that: "Hints and Tricks."

Most of the hints I've used myself or know someone who will vouch for them. All of them are fun to read and almost as much fun to do.


We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it's forever. Carl Sagan


Gardening Info

This is a miscellaneous section of odds and sods of information I've collected and would like to share. I've found most of the information in magazines and on the internet or in the many gardening books I can't resist buying!

The side column of this section includes some of my presentations using Adobe Presenter.

You'll also find some of my favourite links on the Gardening Info page.


"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job." ~ Philip Angell, Monsanto's Director of Communications


The Blog

I guess the whole site is a sort of blog, isn't it?

But this new section is a more conventional blog -- a space to put my thoughts and new ideas as I learn them or think them.