Well, a chill is in the air and the colors of autumn are all around us. Most of the garden chores are done, with the possible exception of planting some garlic for harvest next July. Also, if you haven’t done so already you may want to plant a cover crop in the garden area to protect the soil for next season. Those of us with flower gardens might be putting in a selection of flower bulbs for early color next spring.
Gardening in October
- With the beginning of October usually comes a brief stint of warm weather, instilling in us the urge to Plant Something! If you haven’t already done so, check for some great buys at the local stores and garden centers that are looking to clear their shelves of fall bulbs to get ready for that other season that’s just around the corner. Remember, fall bulbs bring spring color! Don’t be caught looking for tulips and daffodils in April at your local merchants.
- Dig up tender bulbs, corms, tubers, and roots (canna lilies, dahlias, and gladiolas) after their foliage has died back or has been killed by frost. Let them dry in a well ventilated room, with temperatures between 60º – 70°, and out of direct sun. Most tender plants will take 1-3 days to cure; gladiolas can take much longer — up to 3 weeks. To store the cured materials, place them in a ventilated container and layer them with peat moss, sand, and shredded newspaper or sawdust. Store them in an area with temperatures ranging around 35 to 45º. For more information, check out University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension’s Storing Tender Bulbs and Bulblike Structures.
- If you love garlic and have noticed the prices in the stores going up for whole garlic bulbs, then you might want to try your hand at growing your own. It’s still not too late to get it in the ground, but time is running out. For more information on planting garlic, watch our video How Do I Grow Garlic in Maine?
- If your wondering about taking advantage of some of the great buys on trees and shrubs at your local nursery or garden center, but aren’t really sure if it’s a good time to plant, check out UMaine Extension’s Bulletin #2366, Selecting, Planting, and Caring for Trees and Shrubs in the Maine Landscape.
- One more gardening note of interest to all of you who love strawberries and planted your own for the first time this year but are not quite sure how to renovate an old bed, or provide winter protection for them: David Handley, small fruit & vegetable specialist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Highmoor Farm, has produced a videos on those topics. See How To Grow Strawberries: Renovating an Old Strawberry Bed and Getting Strawberry Plants Ready for Winter.
Items of Interest
- Now is a great time to get outside and enjoy our beautiful state in all its color. Time spent out on your favorite hiking trail is always a rewarding experience. For information on trails in Maine or places of interest to leaf peepers, visit Maine’s Official Foliage Website.
- If you have ever had this question asked to you by someone just wondering how and why the trees in our landscape change colors, Maine’s Official Foliage Website has a some very easy to understand information for people of all ages. View their fun animated video Maine’s Autumn Magic: How Leaves Reveal Their Fall Colors.
- Living with Wildlife: Are you having problems with wildlife around your home, garden or maybe the lawn? Help is on the way. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife is currently assembling helpful information about common Maine Wildlife that may be causing conflicts with humans. The site, Living with Wildlife, is new and still being developed.
- Forest & Shade Tree Report: The Insect & Disease Conditions Report for September 25, 2012 is now available from the Maine Forest Service. This will be the last report of the 2012 season and it’s packed with great information for our forest and shade trees health.
- Diane Blazek at National Garden Bureau writes:
We at National Garden Bureau have of late become more curious as to what inspires a person to become a gardener. Was there a special person in your childhood who showed you the joy of planting a small seed and watching it turn into a stunning sunflower or delicious tomato? Was it your own inspiration after you bought your first home and wanted to beautify the landscape in order to “keep up with the Joneses?” Or maybe it was the local movement and food safety issues that prompted you to grow your own produce? We are asking you, our loyal reader, to give us a minute of your time to help us explore this topic. We’d really like to know which childhood, young adult or adult experiences, if any, helped inspire you to become a gardener. Even if you have not had any experience in or inspirations to garden, we would still like to hear from you! Please share your experiences by taking this short survey.
Also, if you have an interesting story on how or who introduced you to gardening that you would like to share in our Master Gardener Newsletter, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Tom Goodspeed at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathy Hopkins at email@example.com.
- Living History Days: The Maine Forest & Logging Museum at Leonard’s Mills on Route 178 in Bradley, Maine, is a great place to spend the day and enjoy the foliage, along with experiencing a 1790s logging and saw-milling village! Enjoy the bateau and wagon rides, and fresh-pressed apple cider. Watch a water-powered sawmill and more! Living History Days at the Maine Forest & Logging Museum takes place October 6-7, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, visit the Leonard Mills website.
- 2nd Annual Avalon Acres Harvest Festival — October 8, 2012: Bring the kids and learn about life on an apple orchard. The orchard will be open for apple picking, the farm store will also be open, and there will be many apple and harvest related demonstrations throughout the day. Money raised from this event goes to a charitable cause. Last year’s proceeds benefited the St. Albans’ Grange, Lions Club, Masonic Lodge, and St. Albans’ Parent Teacher Organization. For more information visit Avalon Acres & Farm.
- Great Maine Apple Day: Interested in apples and apple trees? Then the MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) fairgrounds are where you want to head on October 21 for rare and heirloom apple displays, educational talks, and apples and apple products for sale. For more information, visit the Great Maine Apple Day on MOFGA’s website.
- The Fryeburg Fair: With the fair season drawing to a close in Maine, many will be heading to the largest fair in our state. The Fryeburg Fair is slated to begin on Sunday September 30 and run until October 7. You can get more information and directions to the fair at the Fryeburg Fair web page.
To Ted Weber and family on the passing of Nancy Weber, fellow Master Gardener and friend of Extension. Nancy’s dedication to her family and friends, and her lifetime spent teaching and sharing, was a model for us all.
Somerset County Master Gardener Volunteers
To date the Master Gardener Volunteers in Somerset County have
- volunteered over 1,040 hours in their communities;
- reached over 480 people through volunteering; and
- donated over 370 pounds to local food banks & neighbors.
This is just what we have to date (9/19/12), with more coming in each day!
Thank you and keep up the great work in your community and county. Please remember to send us your hours and produce donations to be counted as soon as you can.
At the present time I am glad to announce that we have been able to send out Master Gardener Volunteer Certificates to five people in our 2012 class and four re-certification certificates to previous Master Gardener Volunteers.