Let’s Get Gardening: October 2019

I love this time of year, for so many reasons. I like the cooler temperatures and the beautiful colors of the mums, asters, goldenrod, and other late bloomers that are putting on a show now as everything else is fading away. There is just something about the color combinations that Mother Nature has chosen for this time of year that make me smile.


In this month’s issue of Let’s Get Gardening

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In this month’s issue:

One of my favorite things about gardening in the fall is that the days are warm, but not too warm, making it comfortable to get all the work done that I need to do – and there’s a lot. Of course, in Michigan, you can’t take anything for granted in the weather department, as will be evident this week, with temps in the mid- to upper-80’s today, and in the 50’s by the end of the week!

Vegetable Garden:

  • It doesn’t appear that we are expecting frost in the next two weeks (but it’s Michigan, so that could change), but it’s pretty much a guarantee that we will have frost by about mid-month. If you still have plants in your veggie garden, keep fleece row covers handy so that you are can throw them on when there is a threat of frost.
  • This is the month to plant my favorite thing in the garden – garlic! Garlic is a bulb, and is treated just like our spring-blooming bulbs (tulips, daffs, etc.), in that it gets planted in the fall and comes up in the spring. When you plant it, you break apart the bulb and plant the individual cloves – each clove becomes a garlic bulb, so you get a great return on your investment.
  • If your veggie garden is pretty much done for the season, clean it up this month, while there are still some warm days that make you want to be working outdoors. Waiting until it’s really cold will ensure that it won’t get done until spring, and doing it in the fall means you can get planting as soon as the soil warms up in the spring.

Flower Beds:

  • Just like with garlic, October is the time to plant bulbs for spring-blooming flowers such as tulips, daffodils, crocus, allium, hyacinth, and many others. Get your bulbs in before the ground freezes, and you will be rewarded with beautiful flowers early in the spring, when not much else is daring to peak up out of the ground.
  • If you haven’t already, it’s time to dig up your dahlias, cannas, caladium, and glads. These tender perennials can’t survive our winters, so they need to be dug up and stored in a cool, dry place.
  • There is still time to divide and transplant perennials, but do it soon so that your plants have time to get acclimated in their new space before we start getting killing frosts and before the ground freezes.
  • Make sure your plants go into winter with a good layer of mulch over their roots. It’s not unusual for us to get thaws throughout the winter, which can cause heaving, leading to damage to the crown and roots, or even to the death of the plant.
  • If you are worried about getting your flower beds cleaned up before winter, relax. It’s actually better for the bees and butterflies to leave your beds “messy.”

Trees and shrubs:

  • There is still time to get new tree or shrub planting done, too – but get them in soon. Make sure to water them well all the way up until the ground freezes, so that they have the best chance of making it through the winter.
  • Did you notice a weird yellowing of the leaves on your maple trees this summer? I had been seeing a number of, especially younger, maples in the Chelsea area (and in my own yard) with an issue called chlorosis. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that my tree was affected until well into the season, so my options for dealing with it were a little more limited than had I noticed it earlier.




  • Grass will continue to grow until we get a killing frost, so keep mowing. If you leave the grass too long over the winter, it is more susceptible to disease. Mulch the clippings into the lawn to help add nutrients back into the ground, which in turn will help feed the lawn. If you do bag your clippings, add them to your compost pile.
  • I typically suggest that you mow up the leaves while you are mowing your lawn so that they become mulch for your lawn. While I do still generally recommend that, there is one reason to consider getting rid of them entirely. If the leaves on your trees are showing signs of disease, like some of mine are, you can help to reduce the chances of your trees having problems again next year by raking up and burning the leaves or otherwise removing them from the property.


  • Keep hoses handy this month, in case we don’t get a lot of rain. Keep watering your perennials, trees, and shrubs up until the ground freezes, as a lack of water causes stress to the plants, making it harder for them to make it through the winter.
  • After you’ve cleaned out your gardens and finished your mowing and watering, don’t forget to clean your tools before putting them away for the winter. Doing so will help them last longer, and make them work better for you.



  • Be sure to keep your feeders cleaned out. Birds don’t like moldy food any more than we do! Dirty feeders can also spread disease among birds.
  • Keep your hummingbird feeders full and out for a little longer yet (bring them in at night if we are expecting freezing temperatures). I’ve recently seen hummers at my feeders, so am definitely leaving them out for a while yet.
  • Also keep filling up birdbaths to help provide a source of water for the birds.
More info on all of these tips can be found in our monthly newsletter: Read the October 2019 issue of Let’s Get Gardening

Happy Gardening! 


Pumpkin Day at The Garden Mill!

Saturday, October 19, 2019
11:00 am to 2:00 pm

Join us for a pumpkin decorating party! We’ll supply the pumpkins and decorating supplies – you supply imagination and enthusiasm. The result: a charming, spooky, or hilarious jack-o-lantern to take home. Pumpkins and decorations are free. Limit one per person. Open to adults and supervised children ages 3+.

No registration required.


Mark your calendar for the 14th Annual Wine, Women & Shopping

Saturday, November 9, 2019
10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Mark your calendars now, and join us for Chelsea’s 14th Annual Wine, Women & Shopping on Saturday, November 9th! Look under “events” on our Facebook page for more information, and visit the WWS Facebook page for updates between now and the big day!

Store News & Specials

  • $10 off $50 purchase coupon

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