Gardener's Calendar

 

The Gardener's Calendar is a by-the-month calendar for gardening events in the Chicago are, zones 4 and 5.  For easy access just click on the monthly buttons below to go directly to the calendar of your choice.  This section is new with the first entry in May.  Every month a new entry will be added until a full year of gardening suggestions is available.

 

 

OCTOBER GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • CONTINUE to get that ONE inch of water a week on your perennials, flowers, shrubs and trees, especially if they are newly transplanted.  GRAB YOUR HOSE!

  • Apply anti-transpirants to your broad-leaved evergreens that are located in windy areas.  This will slow down water loss through the needles.  They may also be wrapped in burlap.

  • You may want to wrap your young trees and shrubs in poultry wired or hardware cloth to protect them from rabbits and vole damage.

  • Winterize aquatic gardens.

  • Save shredded leaves for mulching in November.

  • Clean birdbaths.

 

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS:

  • The end of fall, what a great season this was!  Make notes of what you did well and what you want to improve on.

  • Clean up your plant debris from the garden or you may want to consider leave some plant remnants for winter interest.  It does provide food for wildlife.

  • Continue to add to the compost pile with shredded leaves.  Till compost.

  • NOT TOO LATE TO PLANT SPRING BULBS!  Plant until the ground freezes.

  • A few weeks after a killing frost, lift and store your dahlias and cannas.

 

LAWN CARE

  • Continue mowing @ 2 inches until the grass is dormant.

 

FRUIT, VEGETABLE, AND HERB CARE

  • Plant your seed GARLIC.

  • Plant your MILKWEED.

  • Harvest PUMPKINS before a frost.

  • Ripen GREEN TOMATOES

    • Save only mature green tomatoes.

    • Place tomatoes in a cardboard box lined with newspaper, leave a little space between the fruit for air circulation.  Cover with newspaper.  Repeat second and third layer covering each with newspaper.  Cover box.

    • Store at 70-80 degrees to ripen in about two weeks.

    • Store at 60-70 degrees and 50-60 degrees for successive ripening.

    • A Banana in the box will turn the tomatoes red quicker due to the natural ethylene in banana’s to speed up the ripening.

 

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Acclimate plants indoors and rescue some favorites from the frost.

 

HINTS:

  • Soilless mix from containers can be discarded or kept aside for one more year.  If used again, mix equal parts of old and new mix.

  • Clean ceramic, cement, terra cotta containers and store in frost free space.

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/homeowners/041009.html

 

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist

NOVEMBER GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • CONTINUE to WATER as long as the soil is not frozen and evergreens are getting at least ONE inch of water every two week.  DO NOT put the hose away YET!

  • Disconnect outside water sources, drain hoses, store indoors.

  • Sharpen and oil tools.

  • Check expiration date on herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers to make sure they are still viable.

  • Clean and refill bird feeders.

 

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS:

  • MULCH flowerbeds and roses with loose wood chips, pine needles or shredded leaves.

  • Plants MUST BE completely dormant before mulching.  This may especially help chrysanthemums, which tend to die in winter due to the soil being too wet.

 

LAWN CARE

  • Continue mowing @ 2 inches until the grass almost dormant then last cut should be quite short.  This helps reduce snow mold fungus.

  • Fertilize a final time after the last mowing with a slow release organic 4-1-2 or 3-1-2 ratio to help green up the lawn faster in spring.

 

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Pot up amaryllis, paper whites and other bulbs for holiday bloom.

  • Try to wash plants occasionally with a warm shower.  Humidifiers and pebble trays raise humidity.

  • Continue fertilizing orchids with dilute orchid fertilizer until flower buds are set.  Check southern exposure so it does not scorch foliage.

 

HINTS

  • Best time to do a soil test is September through December.

 

https://extension.illinois.edu/soiltest/

 

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist/november

DECEMBER GARDEN "TO DO" LIST

 

GENERAL GARDEN CARE

  • If it snows avoid using salt-based de-icing products in or around garden areas.

  • Shovel snow before it freezes on sidewalks and sprinkle sand on sidewalks for traction.

  • When shoveling, try to distribute snow equally on garden plants instead of piling it all against  foundation planting or in the root zone of only one tree.

  • Maintain a supply of water for the birds.

  • Clean and refill bird feeders.

  • Ice accumulation on tree branches should be left to melt.

  • Immediately prune back branches damaged by snow and ice.

  • For heavy snows, remove snow loads from evergreens by gently sweeping snow off with a broom.

  • Continue to monitor rodent and animal damage on plantings in yard.

 

ANNUAL AND PERENNIALS:

  • LIGHT pruning of deciduous trees and shrubs can be done this month.

 

LAWN CARE

  • Continue mowing @ 2 inches until the grass is almost dormant then last cut should be quite short.  This helps reduce snow mold fungus.

  • Fungus can also develop if excess garden debris and fallen leaves are left on grass over winter.

  • Avoid walking on frozen grass because it breaks the blades and mats down turf.

 

INDOOR GARDEN

  • Monitor plants for insect problems.

  • Choosing your Christmas Tree:

    • Choose trees with firm needles that do not drop off.

    • The bottom stump should be moist with some sap.

    • Balsam and White Fir; red, white, Scot pines & Douglas Fir retain Needles the longest.

    • Cut an additional 2 inches off the stump and plunge in warm water.

    • Keep stand full of water.  It can take up as much as a gallon/day.

    • Dry trees are fire hazards.

 

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/checklist/december