October Garden to do List

Planting

  • Tree, shrubs, woody vines, ground covers, and some perennials should be planted now.
  • Spring bulbs such as daffodils, hyacinths, etc.  Pre-cool tulips and Dutch hyacinths for 45 days to about 40 degrees before planting in November.
  • Spring flowering perennials such as daisies, iris, lilies, etc. can be planted now.
  • Cool-season spring-flowering annuals like alyssum, poppies, dianthus, flowering cabbage, and kale, etc. should be planted this month.
  • Plant your cool-season grasses.  Rye and Fescue should be planted as well as cover crops such as clover and vetch.
  • Finish planting your cool-season vegetables and herbs

Fertilize

  • Continue to foliar feed your plants with compost tea or one of the commercially available organic liquid fertilizers.  Don’t forget the potted plants still in your house.
  • October is a good time to add compost or humus to your landscape.  Don’t forget to add some dry molasses to the compost to feed the bacteria until it gets established.
  • Feed fall-blooming plants with compost tea, either as a foliar spray or with drenching
  • Corn gluten meal should be applied now if it is used as a pre-emergent.  Get it down before the first of the winter weeds seeds start to germinate.

Pruning

  • Remove all vines from trees, limbs, trunks, and root flares.
  • Remove ground covers from around the root flare of trees.  If your trees don’t have a visible root flare this is a good time to expose those root flares.
  • Begin tree pruning if needed.  Follow good tree pruning practices.  This is an especially good time to locate and remove dead limbs before leaf fall. 
  • Don’t deadhead your flowering annuals and perennials.  Leave the seeds for the birds.
  • Prune your shrubs carefully, taking only the longer shoots.
  • If removing plants, don’t pull the root ball.  Shear the plant stock at the ground and leave the roots.  They will decompose and richen the soil.

Watering

  • Turf – Water as needed.  Remember that deep, slow infrequent watering is better than short duration watering on a regular basis.  Turf should only be watered when needed, not on a regular schedule.
  • Water potted plants and landscape plants as needed

Pests and Diseases

  • Spot spray weeds with 10% horticultural vinegar solution to control weeds. Adding orange oil can help.
  • Check the roots on your annuals for nematodes.  Treat infected soil with biostimulants, molasses, compost, and citrus pulp.
  • Check houseplants for spider mites, scale, and aphids.  Spray as needed with organic pest controls.  Add whole ground cornmeal or dry granulated garlic to the soil.

Odd Jobs

  • Prep your turf for the coming winter.  Add a half-inch layer of compost to underperforming turf areas. 
  • Don’t rake up and remove the leaves from your trees.  Mulch them into your turf.  If you have too much, grind them finely and add sparingly to your compost pile, your landscape beds or your garden beds.
  • Turn your compost pile
  • Continue to spot spray weeds with a 10% vinegar and water solution
  • Mulch any bare soil in your landscape
  • Feed and water the birds
  • Get your vegetable garden beds ready for winter.  Plant cover crops if you are planning on a live cover for the winter.  Get your fall crops planted and make any repairs on irrigation systems and raised beds.
  • Repair and ready your cold frame covers.

DON’T!

  • Till your soil
  • Scalp your yard
  • Spray any synthetic man-made pesticides, herbicides or fertilizer.