As October sets in, now is a great time to get a head start on garden clean up. This is very important for the overall health of your yard and garden, especially if you’ve had any issues with disease. For your vegetable garden, start by writing down where you planted various plant varieties. This is important to record so you avoid planting the same family of plants in the same location every year to help prevent disease. It is also a good idea to clean off and store items like tomato cages or vegetable trellises. When you remove plant material make sure to remove everything including old fruit and vegetables. If the debris is disease-free, you can compost it. However, if you suspect you might have some diseased plant material, it’s best not to compost it as it could potentially spread and re-infect the garden next year.
October is often a great month to plant. Realize that with the cooler days and longer nights your plants won’t take-off like you’re used to seeing in the spring, however they’ll get a good root-hold for the coming months. Pansies, perennials, and mums can all be planted. Watch the weather, as it is always best to avoid planting if the nightly lows are in the 20’s or lower. I typically say a good rule-of-thumb is to allow plants that are frost tolerant to spend at least two nights outside above freezing to get acclimated.