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October Organic Maintenance


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OCTOBER

Plant*:
  • Cool-season, leaf and root crops such as beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, car- rots, collards, garlic, lettuce, spinach, strawberries and turnips.
  • Dianthus, English daisies, flowering cabbage garlic, Iceland poppies, kale, nasturtium, pansies, pinks, snapdragons, violas, wallflowers and others.
  • All the perennial herbs as well as coriander, dill, parsley and others.
  • Transplant established spring-flowering bulbs, iris, daylilies, daisies, peonies, etc., if necessary.
  • Hardy perennials especially spring flowering plants.
  • Finish warm-season lawn grass plantings by seed by early October. Quality solid sod can be planted anytime that quality grass is available. Be sure to wet the soil of the sod before planting. Apply a thin layer of compost to the surface after planting. ● Wildflower seeds if you haven’t planted them already.
  • Trees, shrubs, vines, and spring-and summer-flowering perennials.
  • Cool-season grasses such as rye and fescue. It is also time to plant clover, vetch, Austrian winter peas and other cool season crops.

Fertilize:
  • Broadcast dry molasses for any plants not looking well. Feed all planting areas with an organic fertilizer at approximately ten to twenty pounds per thousand square feet.
  • Foliar-feed all planting areas and lawns with compost tea or Garrett Juice. Make sure to include seaweed and apple cider vinegar in whatever mix you use. Drench potted plants with the same mixture. Liquid fish should be added for more punch.
  • Feed trees by treating the soil surface or top few inches. Avoid “deep root” feeding. “Root zone” feeding is a better term.

Prune:
  • Tree limbs that are broken, diseased or in the way. Dangerous limbs that might fall. Do not make flush cuts and use no pruning paint or wound dressing. Do not over-prune any trees.
  • Root-prune wisterias that have failed to bloom. This may or may not help.
  • Remove spent blooms of summer flowering perennials.
  • Do not prune knees from bald cypress trees - they are part of the root system. Instead change the root zone areas from grass to ground cover or mulch.

Pest Control:
  • INSECTS: Spray aerated compost tea.
  • DISEASES: Spray BioWash, BioSafe or a 1% solution of hydrogen peroxide.
  • WEEDS: Spray weeds and grass around tree trunks with vinegar. Use 9-10 percent with one ounce orange oil and one teaspoon liquid soap per gallon. Fatty acid products can also be helpful.

Water:
  • All plants deeply during dry spells. Greensand at forty pounds per thousand square feet. Greensand is important because it contains many trace minerals. Iron may not be (probably isn’t) the only deficiency.

Odd Jobs:
  • Mulch all bare soil with shredded tree trimmings. Shredded material from your own property is best. If it is partially composted or mixed with compost, it is better. Rubber, colored wood, cypress and pine bark should be avoided.
  • Mow weekly and leave the clippings on the lawn. Those with buffalo grass can mow less often, as little as once a year.
  • Build new compost piles, turn old ones and water dry ones.
  • Use quality compost and other organic amendments to prepare new planting beds. See Guides for complete bed preparation details.
  • To re-flower a poinsettia, give it uninterrupted darkness fourteen hours each day and ten hours of bright light each day until December. It’s better to buy new plants each year.
  • Use compost or shredded tree trimmings for top-dressing mulch for ornamentals and vegetables.
  • Feed and water the birds!

*Planting recommendations based on North Texas climate, which is zone 8. Check with your local nurseries and extension service for specific varieties and timing.

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