October Garden Activities:


  • Harvest pumpkins and squash before freeze. Cure pumpkins, butternut and hubbard squash at temperatures between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit for two or three weeks immediately after harvest. After curing, store them in a dry place at 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Storing Fresh Fruits & Vegetables.
  • Use dried herbs to make fragrant wreaths and dried flower arrangements.


  • Place poinsettias in dark from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. until bracts show color.


  • Christmas cacti need special care now to develop beautiful flowers for December.  Place plants in a cool room with 50-60 degree Fahrenheit night temperatures.  Or start placing the plant in a dark closet for at least 13 hours each night, then bringing it back out into a sunny window during the day.  When flower buds are visible you can stop the long-night treatment and enjoy the developing flowers.  Christmas Cacti.

  • Start an indoor plant project this month. Hybridize (breed) African violets or start a terrarium. To have kalanchoes flower during late December and January, begin 14-hour daily dark periods now.

Bulb PlantingIris

  • Dig and bring in cannas, dahlias and gladiolus. Dry, clean and store in a cool location free from frost.
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs after soil temperatures drop to 60 degrees. Spring Flowering Bulbs.
  • Reduce overwintering iris borer eggs by burning or composting dead foliage.

Build a compost pile

  • Build a compost pile for fall leaves and garden debris.  Garden Compost.
  • Remove leaves from lawn to reduce lawn problems. Compost or shred and use them for mulch.
  • Remove plant debris from vegetable gardens.  Cut down stems and foliage of herbaceous perennials after two or three hard frosts and when leaves begin to brown. Clean up the orchard and small fruit plantings. Sanitation is essential for good maintenance. Insects and diseases can overwinter on dead or infected plant material.  Dried fruits or "mummies" carry disease organisms through the winter to attack next years' crop.
  • After several hard frosts add mulch to your perennial flower garden. A one inch layer of straw or chopped leaves will help conserve soil moisture and protect the root system.

Garden recordkeeping

  • Fall is an excellent time for taking soil samples in your lawn and garden. Soil tests will measure the pH of the soil, organic matter content and the levels of some of the major elements required for plant growth, such as phosphorus and potassium.  Fertilizers for Vegetables in the Home Garden, Fertilizer Use in Home Gardens.
  • Make a note of any particularly productive or unsatisfactory varieties of vegetables or flowers that you planted this year. Such information can be very useful when planning next years' garden, enabling you to choose plants with resistance to the common insect & disease problems in your garden.  Consider replacing trees & shrubs that don't perform as well as you had hoped.  Winter is a good time to investigate potential replacement plants.


  • Avoid problems next year on your evergreen trees.
  • To avoid attracting Ips bark beetles to living pine trees, store wood from recently cut pine logs away from living trees.
  • Pick bagworms from evergreen shrubs. This will eliminate the spring hatch from over-wintered eggs.


  • Control bindweed, dandelions, ground ivy, violets and other perennial weeds in the lawn & garden.


  • Caulk around windows, doors, conduits, cracks and crevices to prevent entry by uninvited insect guests.
  • Good housekeeping practices are important in the prevention and control of cockroaches.
Calendar Symbol Key
Apple Apple
Birds Birds
Broadleaf plants Tree
Bulbs Bulbs
Cherry Cherry
Evergreen plants Evergreen Tree
Garden cleanup Rake
Garden prep & Harvest Shovel
Grape Grapes
Herbs Herb
Household issues House
Houseplants Violet
Insect control Beetle
Iris Iris
Lawn care Grass
Lawn applications Fertilizer bags
Melons Melon
Mowing Mower
Onions Onion
Peach Peach
Pear Pear
Perennials Lily
Pesticide applications Sprayer
Pets Pet
Planting Trowel
Plum Plum
Poinsettia Poinsettia
Pruning Pruners
Raspberry Raspberry
Records, Orders & Education Pencil
Roses Rose
Strawberry Strawberry
Vegetables Tomato
Watering Hose
Weed control Dandelion
Wildlife Rabbit