October is a lot of people’s favorite month. One of the biggest reasons for that is the fact that it’s a great month to be outside.
There are still a lot of warm, sunny days, but the high temperatures of summer are gone. The air is clean and crisp. Leaves are changing color, and with the mountains less than half a day’s drive away, many North Carolinians get to enjoy some of the country’s best color displays each year. And the nights are cool and clear.
It’s no wonder, then, that October is also a lot of people’s favorite month for spending time in their gardens. The cooler temperatures, the lower humidity, and diminishing numbers of mosquitoes and other insect pests make garden time a delight.
So let’s look at some October gardening tips and ideas.
Good Projects No Matter the Region
First, let’s check out some October gardening tips that are useful no matter what region you live in. Feel free to pass these on to friends and family who live in other regions of the country!
- Have a soil sample tested by a local agency or store and add any recommended amendments. This can shore up your yard before winter and have it ready for renewed growth in the spring.
- Remove dead plant material from your garden beds. If it’s disease-free, compost it. Don’t have a composting bin? Buy one at your local gardening center or create your own!
- Rake up fallen leaves before they pile up, get matted, and trap moisture below them, which can cause lawn damage. Your fallen leaves can be composted as well, and they’ll decay more easily if you shred them first. Another use for shredded leaves: fresh mulch on your garden beds.
- Don’t perform general pruning this late in the year. The new growth generated may not be strong enough to withstand the winter cold, especially if you get snow or ice. If you think pruning is necessary to address a problem, you might want to consult with a landscaping expert.
- Keep mowing your grass until the first freeze.
- When the weather cools off from summer, you still have several weeks left in the growing season. This is the time to plant new trees and shrubs. They’ll have time to get off to a good start before winter, and they’ll get off to a strong start in the spring. Water them well until the ground freezes through. Also, this is the time to plant any cool-season annuals you’d like.
- To extend the blooming season and prevent an untimely death, cover asters, mums, and other fall flowers on nights that will see frost.
- Harvest herbs for cooking and preserve them by drying or freezing. Remove any remaining green tomatoes and harvest winter squash when the vines start to die back or before a hard freeze. Stay on top of picking cool-season crops; not doing so can slow them down prematurely.
- If you have any particularly successful varietals that season, you can save their seeds. Harvest and dry them out, place them in a labeled envelope, and store them somewhere dark and dry.
Now we’re ready to share some October gardening tips that work especially well in our region, the Southeast. Note: although our region does remain more moderate in the fall than several other regions do, these tips may not apply, or may have to be acted upon earlier, if you’re in the western part of the state. The higher elevations and cooler temperatures can make for conditions more like those in the Northeast.
- Continue planting perennials during this time.
- Before the first frost, harvest your sweet potatoes.
- In your vegetable garden, you can plant a cover crop. A cover crop can suppress insects, soil disease, and weed growth.
- During dry spells, make sure to water trees and shrubs, especially any that you’ve planted this fall. Don’t let the cooler weather lull you into thinking plants don’t need regular watering anymore. Water your winter and spring bloomers as well.
LandArt Solutions Can Add a Professional Touch to Your October Gardening
LandArt Solutions is a fully licensed and insured landscaping company serving the Fayetteville region. With more than 20 collective years of experience in the field, we help homeowners add function, beauty, and value to their properties.
If you’d like some help working on any of the ideas in this article or any others you might have, we’d love to talk about what we can do. Plus, the more we do, the more time you have for enjoying the great fall weather!