This post is for both active gardeners and those of you that want to start a garden or grow something. As much as we are starting to wrap up the 2016 gardening season, there is still plenty to be harvested, seeded, and prepped for the current season and next season (Spring 2017).
Here is your October checklist (according to my checklist):
- Harvest your Fall crop! And remove plants that have been fully harvested. This includes pumpkins and winter squash. I plan to leave leak and carrots in the ground at least through October, if not November.
- Leave bean and pea roots in the soil. I recently read NOT to remove the entire bean and pea plant after it has been harvested. Cut it down to ground level and leave the roots in the soil to continue to release nitrogen into the soil. Many crops remove nitrogen from the soil, but peas and beans add nitrogen into the soil.
- Add a floating row cover. To try to extend the fall crop season, add a floating row cover. The picture below is a hoop house + a row cover. I suggest building a hoop house in the winter when you are not competing with vegetables to install the hoops. So for now, try a floating row cover.
- Plant garlic. Choose the location wisely, as the garlic will grow and live in this location until it is harvested in July. Plant either softneck (stores longer and tends to be what you find at the grocery store) or hardneck (doesn’t store as long, but bigger and richer in flavor and harder to find at a grocery store). Thanks to this Encyclopedia Botanica podcast about Planting Garlic, I have already purchased my garlic seed from my local Farmer’s Market so I am all ready to plant in October. I will grow primarily hardneck because we eat a lot of garlic (so I don’t need to worry about storage) and it is not typically sold at grocery stores. A 1/3 of my total garlic planting will be softneck. For more on planting garlic, check out this post.
- Plant Spring flower bulbs. You can plant tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, ranunculus, lilies, iris, crocus, and more in October. Make note of where you planted your bulbs. I have definitely dug these up a few months later when weeding. Don’t have a yard but have a deck? Then this is for you. You can absolutely grow these bulbs in pots.
- Plant cover crops. Cover crops can grow in your soil during the winter, adding organic matter and nutrients, and keeping it healthy for next season. You can use clover, fava beans, rye grass, peas, buckwheat and more. If you decide to forego cover crops, be sure to cover your soil in mulch. For more information about cover crops, check out this post by my friend and fellow gardener.
- Move citrus trees indoors. And any other houseplants that have been outside for the summer. I have a lemon tree that has been living outdoors, as temperatures begin to near low 50s at night, it is important to move indoors.
- Plant blueberries and fruit trees. In the PNW, you can plant these now or in the Spring.
- Prune and clean up roses. Of course, only do this after roses have finished blooming. Remove rose leaves on the ground to prevent disease.
- Lift and divide perennials. If you want to spread the love of any of your favorite perennials or share them with your friends. This is a great time to lift and divide them while the ground is still warm. Learn more here.
As you can tell, this is a great month to wrap up a fabulous 2016 and already start planting and prepping for 2017.
Important side note: You never have to feel like you need to do all of these things. It is simply a guide to help you decide what you want to do in your garden, yard, or in the pots on your deck.
What is on your checklist to do in the garden in October? Any tips and tricks to share?