Get our monthly gardening Tips:

landscape photo

October Gardening Tips

<< September Tips | November Tips >>

Landscaping Tips

  • Later in the month plant spring flowering bulbs but be sure to purchase them early for the best selection so they don’t sit in the warm store and start to sprout. Keep them in a cool, dry place until planting.
  • Transplant perennials and enjoy the last flowers on asters and chrysanthemums. Summer annuals fade fast in October so remove them and get your winter pansies planted. Dusty miller is a good accent. Kale can look nice if it doesn't get too cold. It often gets soggy and stinky in the January-February time period if we have overly cold temperatures. Trim back spent flower stalks.
  • Keep those fallen leaves off your grass. A few days of leaf cover on your grass and you might have sick or nearly dead grass. Be sure and rake up any diseased leaves or fruit and discard (don't put in your compost pile!). Compost large fallen leaves or use smaller ones, like birch, for mulch.
  • Store geraniums and fuchsias.
  • Don't give up on weeding because of winter. You want to keep weed seeds from spreading. 
  • Select new perennials, shrubs and trees now.
  • Moss in lawns colonizes in wet and shady areas. Replace struggling lawn areas in shady spots with appropriate ground covers. Keep working on your lawn and don't let the lawn get long, rangy and neglected. It is usually appropriate to cut you grass quite short at this time of the year to allow whatever light is available to get to the crown of the grass plants. If the lawn feels "spongy," or if a plug reveals more than about 3/4 of an inch of thatch it should be thatched now. Overseed immediately. After the middle of October, grass seed does not germinate well enough to fill in before cold, dark weather comes.
  • Trim heather after flowering.
  • Don't worry about the large number of crane flies you see around. Spraying will do little good at this time. Treatment for crane fly is accomplished during a narrow window the latter part of March to about the middle of April. A healthy grass rarely needs to be treated for crane fly anyway.
  • It's also time to plant container and balled and burlaped plants but be sure to remove the nylon twine and treated burlap, they do not deteriorate. Native plants add garden interest and color. Plan to mix native plants into your landscape along with adapted exotics. Choosing natives helps connect the garden to the natural landscape and can benefit wildlife. Look for smaller plants for small gardens. Drought tolerant evergreens like sword fern, Oregon myrtle, salal and mahonia.

Vegetable Garden

Keep your tomatoes and peppers covered to keep warmth in for longer production. You can sometimes nurse production into November. Plant over wintering onions, mustard, spinach and chard, harvest winter squash. Mature green tomatoes can be ripened indoors in shallow boxes; they do not require light to ripen. Sow cover crops such as vetch, crimson clover and field peas. Spread leaf mulch over your vegetable garden.