October Gardening Tips
- Clean out flower and vegetable gardens to discourage diseases and pests from overwintering in your beds.
- Rake leaves from ditches to make way for the rain that's coming.
- Re-program drip system timers for cooler weather and rain.
- Update your garden journal, noting what worked and what didn't work. Look around at the fall color you might want to plant for next year
- Mulch or mow leaves on your lawn and add to your compost pile - either an existing one or a new one.
- Apply a thick layer of compost to enrich your soil for spring planting.
- Apply mulch to bulbs and tubers left in the ground.
- Deadhead spent flowers.
- Lift tuberous begonias.
- Lift and divide dahlias, dust with sulfur before storing.
- Divide lilies.
- Cut back and divide spent perennial phlox asters.
- Cover compost bins with plastic tarps once the rains begin.
- Clean out bird houses and bird feeders.
- Cut old berry canes and tie the new canes to support wires. It's easy to identify the old canes now - they're turning brown.
- Finish pruning any fruit trees after the last fruit is removed.
- Established lawns
- Indoor plants
- Pesimmons and pomegranates before dormancy
Spray: Check the California Backyard Orchard website for current information.
What to Plant in October
Trees, shrubs, perennials
- October and November are the best months to plant.
- Acorns for new oak trees. Acorns do best with 30 days cold treatment.
- Install drought tolerant shrubs and perennials such as barberry, ceanothus, dogwood, iris, fremontia, manzantia, Oregon grape, penstemon, redbud, rockrose, smoke tree, toyon.
- Plant spring bulbs! You have about 2 months to get them in the ground.
- Direct seed cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, lupine, columbine, portulaca, sweet pea, garden pea, and stock.
- Above 200': direct seed crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, scilla, tulips
- Continue to set out cool-weather bedding plants such as calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.
- Plant onions, garlic, artichokes and asparagus before frost.
- Direct seed beets, bok choy, spinach, peas, mustard, radishes.
- At warmer elevations, plant potatoes now through March.
- This is an ideal time to reseed bare spots.
- Think about reducing the size of, or removing, your lawn to conserve resources.
- Seed for erosion control on slopes.
- Clover or fava beans to improve soil structure in your vegetable garden.