• October: Storing Dahlias

    Dahlia tubers can be kept over the winter for use next spring if stored in the proper conditions – a dry, cool place (5-10 C).  Store them in a container which will allow ventilation.  Line the bottom with a layer of peat moss – place your clump in the peat moss with the stem pointing down.  There can be two layers of tubers in a container.  Cover the top layer with a layer of peat moss.


  • October: Chopping Leaves

    If you don’t have a lawn mower that can be used to chop your leaves, consider putting them in a large garbage pail and using a weed eater to chop them (small amounts at a time).

  • October: Harvesting Winter Squash

    Harvesting winter squash after a light frost will give you a sweeter squash but it will also give you a squash that won’t store as well.  When cutting the squash off the plant, leave a 2-4 cm stem on the squash to prolong storage.  Allow the squash to cure by laying it out in a sunny spot for a week.  Curing will harden the skin so that the squash will store better.

  • October: Lifting Dahlias

    After the first heavy frost, carefully lift your dahlia tubers with a fork.  Remove the tops to within 6 inches of the crown.  Gently brush the soil off the tubers and lay them out to dry in the sun for a few hours.  Before storing, remove any tubers that are infested, dead or withered.

  • October: Cutting Back Perennials

    Cutting back your perennials in the fall or in the spring is a personal choice.  Consider cutting back only those whose foliage and seed heads don’t contribute to the beauty of your garden.  When you do cut back, cut back as close to the ground as possible.

  • October: Root Prune Shrubs to Move in Spring

    Fall is the ideal time to move shrubs and trees but if you know you won’t be able to do so this fall, prepare the plant for a spring move by root pruning it. Plunge your spade into the soil  around the base of the plant in a circle as if you were going to dig it up. Root pruning makes it easier to dig up the plant in spring and encourages the plant to generate new roots inside the circle. These roots will give the plant a head start when it’s moved to its new location and help it get established quickly.

  • September: Add to Your Plantings

    Take advantage of the still-warm soil and upcoming rains by planting trees, shrubs, and evergreens; use root-stimulating fertilizer to promote root growth. Now’s the time to divide and replant perennials such as peonies and irises, too.

  • September: First Frost Date

    The first frost date for the GTA is late September.  If a frost is forecast, protect tender plants with an old sheet; bring in plants that cannot withstand any frost and harvest fruits/vegetables that will be damaged by even a light frost.

  • September: Plant Bulbs for Early Spring Colour

    Order spring-flowering bulbs now and plant them as soon as they arrive. Work bone meal into bottom of planting holes for better growth. By using “lasagna” layers (or bunk bed layers as one nursery man calls them), with the late bloomers planted deepest, followed by mid-season bloomers and finally, by the earliest flowers, you can have new waves of colour and fragrance over several weeks next spring.

  • September: Sow the Last Salad Crops

    Make a final sowing of spinach along with mâche, also known as corn salad, which matches spinach for standing up to a light frost. Spinach will take a longer and longer to germinate as the soil cools; but you should be able harvest baby spinach for salads from seeds sown in early September.


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