20 Great Gardening Tips for Your October Garden

fall pumpkins

What to Plant in Your Fall Garden or Landscape

The air has a fall chill to it and the leaves are starting to turn, but there is still plenty to do in your garden and around the landscape. Harvesting the last veggies and flowers, planting bulbs for a spring bloom and putting in your garlic and onions are just a few things that can be done in October. Here are just a few ideas to add to your "To-Do" List. Tricia talks about some things she is doing in her fall garden in our video, October Gardening Checklist.

Spring-flowering bulbs

There is still time to plant your spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips, crocus, freesias, iris, hyacinth, peonies or lilies. Plant them in pots or directly into the ground. Don’t to forget to amend your soil with a little compost and bulb fertilizer. If you want to enjoy some blooms during the dreary winter months, check out our article on forcing bulbs.

Time for alliums to shine–plant garlic, onions, shallots or leeks

Fall is a great time to put these in for a spring/summer harvest.

Fall mums

Native plants

Fall is a good time to plant your native plants. Fall and winter rains helps natives develop good root systems before having to endure a summer of little or no rain.

Cover crops

Still time to plant a winter cover crop in empty garden spots. Plant a soil building cover crop like our soil builder mixes to add nitrogen and organic matter to the soil as well as providing weed competition and erosion control.

Plant wildflowers

Mild winter zones can plant wildflowers in the fall. Great flowers to plant are Godetia, Larkspur, Nigella (Love-in-a-mist) and sweet peas.

Plant fall blooming flowers

Put some color in your fall landscape with flowers like mums, pansies or violas, primrose.

Harvest Before Cold Weather Arrives

Take cuttings from your summer herb garden

Summer herbs like rosemary, tarragon, oregano, marjoram, sage, thyme or basil, will not last through the winter, so take cuttings and dry them out to use in dishes through the winter.

Pick your green tomatoes

Before your first frost pick your unripe tomatoes and ripen indoors. If they are all green they might not ripen, so make some fried green tomatoes. Check out our blog page for a good recipe.

Harvest your potatoes

If your potato plants have died back, you can dig up your potatoes and store in a cool dry place.

Harvest your summer garden

Pick any remaining pumpkins, winter squash, dry corn and beans and store in a cool dry place. Make sure you do this before the rains start, otherwise, they can spoil if stored away wet. Save some seed from your favorite veggies or flowers to plant the following year. Store them away in a cool dry location, a glass jar works great.

Soil analysis can be done in the fall

Get your soil analysis done in the fall rather than waiting for the spring. We have a helpful video on how to take a good soil sample for analysis.

Preparing for Cold, Wet Weather

Protect your tender summer flower bulbs

Dig up summer bulbs that will not survive very cold weather such as cannas, dahlias, gladiolus, tuberous begonias. Let them dry out for a few days then store away covered in peat moss or vermiculite.

Protect your tender plants

Before cold weather sets in, move your tender plants such as citrus and succulents indoors.

Take care of your irrigation system

Drain your irrigation system and shut off your water for the season.

Clean up around your orchard and garden

Rake up fallen fruit and leaves to remove hiding places for pests and diseases. Store dry leaves separately in a dry location to add as brown matter when needed. Pull up any dead or spent veggies and put in the compost pile (as long as they are disease free).

Protect your perennial veggies

Add a layer of compost and mulch to your asparagus beds, artichokes, rhubarb, horseradish or Jerusalem artichokes. We have a great video on fall care of these perennials in our video Fall Perennial Vegetable Care.

Take care of your tools 

Clean the dirt off your tools and sharpen them before storing away for the winter. Restore or replace handles if needed.

Take a look at our article on growing longer into the fall season, we'll sure you will enjoy it.

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