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The first half of October is still prime time for seeding or overseeding your lawn. See September In Your Garden for a list of things to consider when choosing seed. Keep newly seeded areas moist at all times. Once the grass starts to grow, water less often, but longer, about a half an hour twice a week, or an hour once a week.
Grubs are still active in the lawn. To kill them, water thoroughly, apply Merit or Diazanon, then water again.
Around the Garden
Keep watering! Even though we've had a few showers and some cooler weather in early October, we haven't had nearly enough water to sustain plants for the winter. Continue to give lawns, flower beds, shrubs and trees at least an inch of water per week. Long, slow watering is better than a little bit every other day. (If you're using an above ground sprinkler, you can measure by placing a plastic cup or dish in the area being watered; keep watering until the water in the cup in an inch deep.)
Early October is still a great time for planting trees, shrubs and perennials. Use Dragon Plant Starter to reduce transplant shock and help plants develop good root systems before winter sets in.
Even if you don't feel like planting this fall, now's a great time to prepare planting beds for next spring. Turn over the soil and dig in material to break up the clay and enrich the soil (such as your own compost, Clay Away, Leaf Gro, and/or top soil). Anytown springs are often rainy, making it difficult to find a time to work the soil when it's not too wet. Preparing your beds now will make planting that much easier next spring.
To keep pansies blooming pinch off spent blooms; continue to apply Miracle Gro up until frost. If you haven't planted pansies yet, there's still time - they're your best bet for color this fall. They'll survive several frosts, and are likely to come back next spring for a second display.
After the first killing frost, cut back blackened leaves and stems of perennials, pull annuals and neaten the garden for winter. Compost healthy plants, but throw away any diseased and insect - infested leaves and plants. If any of your plants had leaf spot, powdery mildew or other fungal diseases, be especially careful to rake up the leaves and throw them away.
Your Edible Garden
Harvest tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans and any other tender vegetables before the first frost is predicted. Tomatoes that are light green or have just started to turn red will usually ripen if brought inside. To discourage rotting, place on a rack where air can circulate around them. To hasten ripening, place in a paper bag with an apple or banana. Or fry up a mess of green tomatoes, Southern style.
In Your Pond
For an easier fall cleanup, cover your pool with Pond Netting. This will prevent leaves and debris form falling into your pool
Stop fertilizing plants and feeding fish.
Now is the time to begin removing yellow decaying foliage. Cut hardy lilies back to the rhizome. Drop hardy bog plants down to a depth of 12-18" under water.
Tropical water lilies can be brought indoors before frost. Cut back foliage and place in wet sand or a zip-lock bag with a small amount of water. Store at 40-45 degrees F. or at room temperature in a dark room.
Tropical bog plants can be brought indoors and kept in water in a bright area.
If you haven't brought your houseplants and tropicals in for the winter yet, do it soon. Otherwise, you may end up in a mad dash to move them when frost is suddenly in the forecast. Or worse, an unpredicted frost could sneak up and kill them while you sleep. Check out September In Your Garden for more information.