15 Garden Tasks to Accomplish in October
Here in the United States, Fall is now officially upon us!
So, what are the garden tasks to accomplish in October? Here’s a list of some simple and some slightly more involved garden tasks to accomplish in October to get a jump on the season:
- As mentioned in September’s list, go ahead and leave some of the grasses, the rose hips, and other seed-laden plants alone. Don’t rush to clip off the developing seed pods. Wildlife will utilize those for shelter and food over the winter months. Many plants add fall and winter beauty to your garden scene.
- If you live in drier zone, be sure and keep up your watering. It will help make sure the plants are well hydrated before any frosts hit your area.
- Fall leaves start falling. Rake them up from your lawn, and add to compost, or mulch them for use in the flower beds. Mulched leaves can add a protective layer over perennials as they go dormant for the winter. You can easily remove them once spring arrives. Or, you may want to work them into the soil next spring to add organic manner. In the meantime, don’t worry so much about having your flower beds perfectly raked clean. If you’ve not yet tried Leaf Scoops, they’re a tremendous back saver!
- While out there, turn the compost pile!
- Do prune back or clip off diseased leaves, branches, etc. Don’t prune for shape at this point, or you risk cutting off next spring’s blooms. Discard of diseased debris you’ve removed, don’t add it to your compost pile or you may just spread it again to other parts of your garden in the spring when you apply compost.
- For those with lawns, it’s a great time to over seed and add a fall fertilizer or compost. The soil is still warm, and with some fall rains you’ll help the grass fill in and go dormant in a healthier state.
- Store away any pots you’ve cleared of annuals, after cleaning them thoroughly. Gives you a head start next spring when you’re itching to get them potted up.
- Plant your fall bulbs! The month of October is a great time to add bulbs to your beds, or into pots for spring blooms. Peruse the bulb catalogues, and get those orders in ASAP or you’ll miss out on the most coveted bulbs. Check out Nature Hills Nursery, Inc. for some great choices. You can also check out our Pinterest board on bulbs for some wonderful examples of bulbs to enjoy next year.
Add new perennials to your garden. Many nurseries offer new perennials and/or have weekly specials. A great choice to add for late winter or early spring enjoyment are Hellebores. They typically bloom in Feb-March, although in some areas they might pop out as early as January. They offer a variety of colors from white to darker pink, and the blooms stay for a month or longer. The rest of the year you’ll still enjoy their spike edged leaves. They’ll do best in semi-shaded areas. See our ‘Hellebores’ Pinterest board for some great examples!
- Order your seeds for next year’s vegetable garden while your favorites are fresh in your mind from this summer’s crop! It’s a good time to research new varieties, or check out some of the great heritage seeds available on the market. Some companies may have seeds on sale if they’ve overestimated the seed needed for next season. Fall is also an excellent time to plant blueberry bushes for next season growth, as well as garlic and herbs such as Basil, Chives, Oregano, Parsley and Thyme.
- Any remaining green tomatoes can be gathered and put in a brown paper bag to help them ripen up.
- If your herb garden is doing well, but you live in a colder, freeze prone area, pot some up and move to a protected area to over winter them and replant next spring. If you’ve never tried an indoor herb garden, this is the perfect time to start!
- Clean and store any tools that you’re done with for the season. Be sure and clean, sharpen, and then store them properly. An easy storage solution is to put them in a bucket of sand and mineral oil mixed together. A mix of about 4-4.5 gallons of sand with .5 gallons of mineral oil poured over the top should work fine.
- If you have an in-ground irrigation system, time to drain it and turn it off for the season.
- October is a great month to select a tree if fall foliage is a deciding factor. The nurseries will have a good selection available now, and they’ll likely be starting to show off the fall colors.
Lots to keep us busy – see you next month!
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