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October – Time to prepare our gardens for winter.

Any tropical or non-hardy plants that you wish to keep over winter need to be treated for insects and diseases before you bring them inside to prepare for the first frost.  Country Farms has a variety of organic and chemical sprays for this purpose. Spray them thoroughly until you see run off.  Make sure to get the undersides of the leaves and stems, as well.  Let dry before you move them inside.  If they are root bound, re-pot in one size bigger pot, using good bagged potting soil.  Never use garden soil for your potted plants.  When using old pots, make sure they are clean and sanitized before re-using, to prevent insect and disease problems.

After the first hard frost, cut back any annuals and perennials and clean up any dead leaves.  Insects and disease overwinter in that debris, so do a thorough job.  I like to cut back annuals to the ground rather than pull them out. You will lose a lot less good soil if you wait until spring to pull out the roots.  If you had an insect or disease problem, it wouldn’t hurt to spray the soil after you clean up.  Add extra mulch to any tender plants.  Lay your tree roses on their side and bury in mulch or pot them and move them into the garage for the winter.

It may sound like a tremendous amount of work awaits you, but don’t worry…Science has proven that gardening is not only great exercise (150-300 calories per hour) but great stress relief as well!

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