Summer in the U.S. gives way to fall which means crisper air, cooler temperatures, and falling leaves. As we move into October, many beginning gardeners who thought they missed getting to plant a garden in the Spring, discover that there are lots of things to do in the garden in October. We’ve listed our top 9 things below:
If you planted any late summer crops that have matured, now is the time to harvest those. Pumpkins, squash, and other root vegetables will be maturing depending on when they were planted. With Halloween approaching, you may even be able to make a little bit of extra money by selling pumpkins to families in the neighborhood or taking them to your local farmer’s market.
Rake Leaves and Clean Away Other Debris
By mid to late October, in the Northeast U.S., most leaves will have fallen from the trees. Decaying leaves can keep air and water from getting to plants. Rake out leaves and other debris from your garden to give it the best shot of flourishing. Add what you rake out to your compost bin where it will break down and help to create fertilized soil for use in the Spring.
Plant Spring Bulbs
October can be a great month to plant Spring flowering bulbs in your garden. Check a frost calculator for your area to make sure you have sufficient time for them to take root prior to the first frost. Hyacinths, tulips, snowdrops, and even blueberries can be planted in October. They will lie dormant underground all winter, just the conditions they need for blooming in the Spring to give your garden extra beauty. Additionally, get in touch with Lawnstreet for getting ideas about perfect beautification of your garden.
Prune Fruit Trees
Another great thing to do in the garden in October is to harvest any remaining fruit from the orchard or fruit trees and then prune them back. Removing dead or infected branches can prevent disease and keep trees healthy. Pruning should be done every year once the tree has gone dormant and leaves have fallen off.
Start A Compost Bin
If you didn’t get a compost bin started yet for the year, October is a great time to do it. Fall is a great time to get it started because it takes about 6-9 months for the compost to be converted to nice fertilized soil. Test your soil so you can have insight into what your existing soil needs. Be sure to add a balance of green (live) and brown (decaying) matter as well as other things such as coffee grounds, eggshells, and leftover organic matter from the kitchen.
Organize Seeds and Plan Your Spring Garden
Get your seeds organized for the coming Spring and figure out what you plant in the Spring. If you plan your garden for Spring in the previous Fall, you’ll have a good idea of which cover crops are best. Research different gardening methods and determine which one you will use for your Spring garden so you can do any needed prep work now to prepare the garden for planting.
Clean Out Gutters
Clean out your best gutter guard for leaves so rainwater can flow freely through and drain to the ground which will prevent the water from backing up onto your roof and causing leaks. It’s best to do this at least twice per year, once in Spring and again in the Fall, especially October after leaves have fallen. If your budget allows, install a gutter cover to greatly reduce the amount of debris and leaves that can get into the gutter throughout the Summer and Winter.
Plant Cover Crops
Many gardeners plant cover crops in the Fall, such as rye, oats, barley, or peas. These crops are deliberately planted for the nutrients that will be provided for the soil when the crops are turned over into the ground. Planting cover crops in October can help prevent erosion of soil, control weeds, and even help reduce weeds you have to pull later.
Plant Fall Crops
There are a wide variety of plants that can be planted in early Fall and some will even grow through the winter if planted beneath a covering that keeps snow from burying them. Plants that can tolerate light frosts include those such as Kale, Collards, Beets, and Chinese cabbage.
Put Away Any Tools and Equipment
Once you’ve harvested the last of your crops and turned over any cover crops, put away any tools and equipment for the winter months. Check items carefully for damage so you can plan to make repairs or get a replacement before it’s needed in the Spring.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the garden in October? Let us know in the comments below.