Perennials: Tender perennials and newly planted perennials can be overwintered in a warm micro climate in your garden or in a cold frame where they can be heavily mulched. This works well for mums or plants that spent the summer in containers.
Flowers: Prepare pots and soil for bulb forcing. Gorgeous tulips and fragrant hyacinths are favorites, but try something different by growing grape hyacinths (Muscari) in shallow pots. They require eight to 10 weeks of cold treatment to bloom. Daffodils and hyacinths require 12-14 weeks, and tulips 14-16 weeks in a cool (40 degrees), dark location. After they are brought out into light they will bloom in 2-3 weeks.
Vegetables and fruits: Harvest figs when they are soft, dark and ripe. Last call to plant cold hardy vegetables. Heavy grade row covers will protect spinach and other leafy crops until very cold weather. Kale is the toughest. Spinach varieties such as ‘Winter bloomsdale’ and ‘Giant Winter’ speak for themselves.
Trees and shrubs: Fall is the best time to plant new trees. However they must be watered 1 inch a week until the ground freezes. Choose a landscape tree and its site carefully keeping in mind its ultimate size and the shade it will produce. The storm Sandy brought down many trees that were planted in the wrong site (and many others too). Native trees are the best source of food for wildlife.
Lawns: Lo Gro grass does not grow tall and works well in areas the lawn mower cannot reach.Test soil before new seeding. Grass won’t thrive in acid soil. Sprinkle dried blood in areas where skunks and other unwanted pests visit.
Houseplants: Purchase an amaryllis as soon as they appear on the market. They can take a long time to bloom.
General: October is the Hunter’s Moon.
Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester