Gardening Tips

Gardening Tips Regions

Correct any soil deficiencies you've noticed. Healthy soil is crucial to healthy plants.

Check coniferous trees for tip damage on new growth. If the tips have been mutilated by borers or otherwise damaged, remove them and establish a new leader by forcing a new side shoot into an upright position.

Young trees should be staked to prevent the roots from being pulled by fall and winter winds.

If you haven't brought your houseplants in yet, do it before you have to start heating your home. This gives them a chance to adjust. Wash them thoroughly before bringing them in to rid them of any pests and eggs.

Plant spring bulbs as long as the ground is workable. Plant the following bulbs soon: trout lily,tulip, narcissus (including daffodil), snowdrop, winter aconite, starflower, and crown imperial. For crown imperial, add a little lime to the soil.

Dig up your rosemary, basil, tarragon, oregano, marjoram, English thyme, parsley, and chives to grow them inside as houseplants. Keep them in a cool, sunny spot, and allow the soil to dry out before watering. Snip off the leaves as needed in the kitchen, but do not strip them completely.

Onions are nearly ripe when the tips of the leaves turn yellow. Break them at the necks. This will speed the final ripening process. Loosen the soil to encourage drying, and after a few days turn them up and let them cure on dry ground. Always handle them very carefully -- the slightest bruise will encourage rot to set in.

Transplant rhubarb, strawberries, and raspberries well before the first light frost so that some root development may take place. Rhubarb and strawberries deplete the soil of nutrients in a short time, so find new locations for them every three or four years.

Prune those trees that are susceptible to disease if pruned in the spring, such as maple, birch, oak, and mountain ash.

This is a great time to plant new trees and shrubs because the new roots will have plenty of time to become established before the spring.

Fall is the best time to start lawn grasses from seed. Till the soil before sowing and provide several light waterings each week.

Dig the herbs from your garden and plant them in pots to bring indoors for the winter; such herbs include rosemary, parsley, chives, and thyme.

Begin moving houseplants inside.

Perennials can be divided and replanted.

Watch for frost forecasts. Harvest tomatoes before the first killing frost. Ripen indoors away from sunlight.

Harvest Brussels sprouts and parsnips once they've been exposed to frost.

If you want to prolong your fall crops, sow radish, lettuce, spinach, and other greens in cold frames.

Be sure to bury or throw away any fallen fruit to help keep away any unwanted pests from your yard.

Compost garden debris and kitchen scraps.

Take root cuttings from annuals, such as begonias, geraniums, and impatiens; plant them in a container and keep them in a sunny place indoors.

Save the seeds from your favorite self-pollinating flowers. Dry the seeds and store them in sealed containers for the winter.

Improve your garden soil by adding manure, compost, and leaves to provide it with more organic matter.

Aerate your lawn if the soil is compacted. Have your soil tested to see if you need lawn fertilizer.

Fertilize your lawn. Lawns fertilized in the fall are better equipped to survive the winter. Reseed in bare patches.

Begin cutting back on watering of the garden and lawn (except newly seeded areas) so that plants can prepare for dormancy (not growth).

Save the seeds from your self-pollinating flowers, such as marigolds, cosmos, or coneflowers, to plant next spring by drying them and storing them in closed containers.

Plant spring wildflowers now.

If you purchased spring-blooming bulbs, plant them as soon as you get them.

In some areas, you can plant cool-season vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, carrots, garlic, Swiss chard, lettuce, beets, kale, parsnips, radishes, peas, spinach, turnips, and celery. See our seed-starting chart on Almanac.com/Gardening.

Plant cool-season annuals, such as pansies and snapdragons, when the temperature begins to decrease.

Plant any perennials. Divide and replant overcrowded perennial beds. Remember to apply a layer of organic matter to the new bed.

Use only phosphate fertilizers on perennials and bulbs (no nitrogen).

Do not fertilize annuals.

Cut back annuals when they finish flowering.

Plan to seed cool-season lawns, such as bluegrass or ryegrass, towards the end of the month; fall is the best time to establish such lawns.

Place tropical houseplants under shade trees to prepare them for winter indoors.

Potatoes are ready for harvest when their tops begin to turn brown.

It's a good time to order spring-flowering bulbs.

This is a great time to plant new trees and shrubs because the new roots will have plenty of time to become established before the spring.

Delay pruning trees and shrubs until early next spring; however, you should remove any broken and diseased branches.

Be sure to keep harvesting your fruit and vegetables so that the upcoming frost does not destroy them.

As you empty annual beds, clean out all dead plants. A clean garden will have fewer diseases next spring. Add manure, compost, and leaves to provide it with more organic matter.

In emptied vegetable gardens, consider planting cover crops such as buckwheat or annual rye that will protect the soil until you're ready to plant again.

Fall is the best time to start lawn grasses from seed. Till the soil before sowing and provide several light waterings each week.

Fertilize your lawn. Lawns fertilized in the fall are better equipped to survive the winter. Reseed in bare patches.

Begin cutting back on watering of the garden and lawn (except newly seeded areas) so that plants can prepare for dormancy (not growth).

Aerate your lawn if the soil is compacted. Have your soil tested to see if you need lawn fertilizer.

Watch for frost forecasts. Harvest tomatoes before the first killing frost. Ripen indoors away from sunlight.

Harvest brussels sprouts and parsnips once they've been exposed to frost.

Be sure to throw away any fallen fruit to help keep away any unwanted pests from your yard.

Save the seeds from your self-pollinating flowers, such as marigolds, cosmos, or coneflowers, to plant next spring by drying them and storing them in closed containers.

Plant any perennials. Divide and replant overcrowded perennial beds. Remember to apply a layer of organic matter to the new bed.

Do not fertilize annuals. Cut back annuals when they finish flowering.

Continue to harvest. Winter squash is ripe when the ground spot turns from white to a cream or gold color. Potatoes are ready when tops die down. Store in a dark location.

Mulch carrots, parsnips, and beets for winter harvesting.

Protect tomatoes or pick green tomatoes if frost threatens.

Begin reducing water on trees, shrubs, and vines to harden them off for winter.

Mulch trees and shrubs with wood chips, ground bark, or fall leaves to protect and nourish the soil.

September is a good time to plant new trees and shrubs for healthy root growth over winter.

Plant or transplant woody ornamentals and established herbaceous perennials.

September is the best time to fertilize lawns for strong roots. Use an organic or slow-release fertilizer that rain won’t wash away.

Improve poor lawns with a fall round of core aerating, reseeding, and top-dressing with ¼ inch of compost before October 15.

Lawns seeded by early October will grow strong roots to survive next summer’s weather.

Plant hardy spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, and crocus; add bulb fertilizer and be sure to water them before the ground freezes. Select big, hearty-size bulbs.

Stake tall flowers to prevent them from wind damage.

Dig, clean, and store tuberous begonias if frost threatens.

Divide peonies and iris.

Keep checking your plants for diseases and insects, and treat them when necessary. Slugs are often still a problem and need to be baited or removed.

Bring your houseplants outside to clean, fertilize, and repot them, then bring them indoors for the winter.

Once the weather gets cooler, dig and divide your perennial plants and herbs.

Do a final weeding before winter and clean up any debris from your garden and lawn to avoid disease come spring.

Mix organic materials into your soil before the ground freezes.

Don’t forget to turn your compost pile to quicken decomposition! Compost piles need air.

Continue to harvest peppers and tomatoes and start keeping an eye out for possible frost.

Harvest herbs and store in a cool, dry place.

Clean out your vegetable garden once the plants have stopped producing. Remove any that were susceptible to disease and insects.

This month usually brings mild weather. Plant or transplant cool-weather crops such as beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, lettuce, mustard, onions, radishes, spinach, and turnips.

With new transplants, be sure to water deeply (not lightly) every morning.

Add organic matter to all planting areas. Be sure there’s an inch-thick layer of mulch on your garden beds to control weeds.

Add leaves and organic material to your compost pile.

Cut back and remove old flower stalks from your annuals. Refertilizer them to encourage one more color before the winter.

Start preparing your flower beds for the planting of cool-season annuals.

Now is a good time to plant woody ornamentals because they have time to establish themselves before the spring.

Divide and replant perennials and bulbs that have become overcrowded or too large.

No more pruning your shrubs or trees, unless it is necessary. Pruning may encourage new growth to occur, which might be damaged during the winter.

Divide and replant crowded perennials. This is the last month to plant any new perennials and biennials.

Move your houseplants back indoors.

For healthy grass, avoid weed and feed products. Only apply herbicides to areas with weed infestations.

Fertilize lawns this month. Use a controlled-release nitrogen.