October Garden Tasks

September 29, 2010

Please note:  What I write in this space are lessons learned through trial and error, research, and from other gardeners and professionals. I garden in zone 9, but share garden experiences that I believe are relevant to most zones within a reasonable time frame and planting conditions.


MaintenanceTake a walk around the outside of your house and the grounds. Note what tasks need attention. Some may include removal or replacement of tree stakes, weeds pulled, mulch added, struggling plants relocated or removed, gutters and downspouts cleaned, leaky faucets repaired, timers adjusted to the changing weather, old hoses replaced, portable lawn sprinklers and tools picked up and put away, chemicals properly disposed of or safely locked up, drip lines and drip heads replaced or unclogged.

If you don’t keep bird feeders filled during winter months, clean and store them until spring.

In the vegetable garden:  Keep critters away and eliminate pests and disease by removing debris from under fruit trees. Toss fallen, rotten fruit in the compost pile or feed them to your farm animals.

Sow seeds of  carrots, mustard, turnips, radishes, beets, peas, and parsnips.

Direct seed or transplant fava beans, Swiss chard, spinach, shallots, onions, lettuce, collards, cilantro, bok choy (or pak choi), rutabaga.

Other transplants include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery (cooking variety will grow year-round), beets, kohirabi, and leeks, Brussels sprouts, chives, parsley.

In the landscapeFall is the best time of year to plant most any type of tree, shrub, groundcover, and vine. This is the season to shop for autumn hues, and bargains.

Keep ponds and birdbaths clean of fallen leaves. Rake and remove leaves from lawns and beds.

Lay sod or sow seed for new lawns. Bare patches on old turfs can be seeded or filled in with sod.

Plant bulbs:  daffodils, tulips, narcissus, crocus, freesias, irises.

Keep dead-heading roses and perennials. Divide and replant perennials such as daylilies, lamb’s ears, Shasta daisies, yarrow.

For cool-season annual colors transplant Iceland poppies, primroses, sweet peas, snapdragons, annual stock, pansies, violas, sweet Alyssum, forget-me-nots, bachelor buttons, Johnny-jump-ups, calendulas, dianthus, lobelia, larkspur. From seed, sow California poppies.

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre



  1. If you have any maturing fruit trees, now is also the time to step up setting baits and traps for critters that climb the trees. I am finding lots of scraps and partially eaten fruits on the ground all around the base of my trees. You do have to be careful to prevent harm to any birds (or any other creature that you like) that might find the baits attractive. I am willing to share some of my persimmons with the birds, but not to rodents and other critters.


  2. Thankfully my newly-planted lettuce and spinach have made it through these 100 degree days! The ground where I am going to plant my red and yellow onions is ready and waiting for the sets to arrive at the nursery. Yesterday I dug up some freesia bulbs and separated them and placed them in a nice line at the back of one of my flower beds. I plan to buy some pansies and johnny jump ups to go in front.
    I am sure most of you may know, but a word of warning, if you have a formal garden you don’t want to plant forget-me-nots. They are a pretty blue flower in a cottage-style garden, but they pop up everywhere-thus the name forget-me-not!! I would imagine poppies do the same thing.


  3. Weeded the cactus garden today and gave the plants a little drink. It looks a lot better.

    Re-potted slips from last week all seem to be doing well.

    Today’s comment on ‘seeding lawn’, we have plans to re-seed some bare spots in the front lawn. Have seed and chicken manure (purchases a few months ago) but was advised to wait until the heat of summer was over.

    Any suggestions when we actually get into this sawn re-seeding project?


  4. Bernadine, you have already purchased your seed for your lawn. At our last Clement’s Garden Club meeting Farmer Fred said a good seed to buy if you have some bermuda in your lawn would be fescue. It grows taller and shades the bermuda which the bermuda doesn’t like. To discourage the bermuda use highest setting on your lawn mower and cut to 4″. My lawn was beautiful for quite a few years till the bermuda started coming up. I think my husband has been cutting the lawn too short!!

    Do wait till it is cooler to re-seed.

    I hope I didn’t misquote Farmer Fred. If I did I hope he corrects me!


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