October Garden Checklist
Buy spring flowering bulbs (narcissus, tulips, etc.) and store in the refrigerator for 60 days. Plant bulbs immediately upon removal. Keep them away from ripening fruit during storage. Plant cool season flowers like dianthus, pansy, petunia, shasta daisy, snapdragon, viola, million bells, status, thunbergia, flowering kale and cabbage. Bulbs to plant include agapanthus, gladiolus, kaffir lily, marica, moraea , society garlic, spider lily, anemone, hyacinth, pineapple lily, and star-of- Bethlehem. To get a Christmas cactus or poinsettia to bloom for Christmas, be sure it is not getting light at night. Starting about October 1st put the plant in a dark area that receives no light form 5PM to 8AM. This is how the plant knows when to set its flower buds. Keep putting it in the dark at night for one month for the cactus, six to eight weeks for the poinsettias . Do not leave plants in he dark 24 hours at a time. Between 8 AM and 5 PM put them in a normal growing area to get sufficient light.
Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, caraway, cardamom, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, horehound, lemon balm, lavender, lovage, marjoram, Mexican tarragon, mint, nasturtium, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme and watercress can be planted now.
Do not fertilize the lawn this late in the year. For a green winter lawn that will have to be mowed, overseed with ryegrass. Watch for brown patch fungus disease, chinch bugs, sod webworms, army worms, and mole crickets. Lawns may be over-seeded with rye grass for a green lawn during winter. Mow the lawn closer than normal to allow the seed to come in contact with the soil. Spread the seed at a rate of 3 to 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn, and water the lawn briefly for five to 10 minutes twice a day until the seed has come up. If winter weeds were a problem last year, apply a pre-emergence herbicide to the lawn in early October. Be sure the herbicide is safe for the type of grass in your lawn. Lawns treated with pre-emergence herbicides cannot be over-seeded with rye grass, because the herbicide will stop the rye grass from germinating.
You can remove diseased or dead limbs any time of year. If you plant a tree this month, remember that water is the most important part of early tree care. Be sure to dig the hole wider than deep. Do not fertilize now, wait until next spring. Let the tree put its effort into producing roots.
Plant strawberries in late October through November. Plant in rows 36" apart and 12" apart within the row. Elevate rows 6" above existing soil to insure good drainage. Use pine straw to reduce weed problems and slugs. Beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, kohlrabi, bulbing onions, bunching onions, radishes, spinach, and turnips may also be planted this month.