It’s fall! Whether you planted a fall garden or are putting your garden to bed for the winter, here’s what to do in October.
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15 Minutes a Day
Hey, you! Did you get outside today? Take advantage of this beautiful fall weather by spending at least 15 minutes a day connecting with your garden. It’s the foundation of the in the garden series!
Tasks in October
This month you’ll be harvesting, maintaining active gardens, putting inactive gardens to bed for the season, and planting garlic and fruit crops. There will be plenty to do inside to process the harvest and preserve the excess.
Note: I’m in USDA hardiness zone 6a. Your experience may vary depending on your geographical location.
Harvest in October
First and foremost harvest what needs harvesting. You’ve worked so hard to grow things–now it’s time to capitalize on that work!
- Alliums: garlic + onions (cure for 2 weeks before storing), leek
- Beet family: beets, beet greens, spinach, swiss chard
- Cabbage family: broccoli, collards, kale, kohlrabi, radish, rutabaga, turnips, turnip greens
- carrots, celery
- cucumber, melon, summer & winter squash
- Check out my tips for harvesting and using cucumbers
- Consider making cucumber watermelon salad or cucumber chips
- A few more ideas for using and preserving cucumbers and zucchini
- One of my favorites: Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes
- Winter squash ideas: How to cook butternut squash + recipes ideas
- Herbs: basil, calendula, chamomile, chives, echinacea, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, nasturtium, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, sunflower, thyme
- Here’s how to prune, store, and use fresh basil
- Here’s how to make healing calendula oil and here’s how to use the oil to make a soothing salve with calendula and lemon balm
- Here are my tips for using and preserving chives
- Here’s how I use oregano
- You might think about bringing your potted rosemary inside when the weather gets cool.
- Here are a few suggestions for using thyme
- Wanna make some nice gifts? Try making a tincture, elixir, or herbal vinegar.
- Legume family: beans, peas
- Nightshade family: eggplant, peppers, potatoes (cure for 2 weeks before storing), tomatoes
- Here are some tips for freezing peppers and drying them
- Here’s how to freeze tomatoes in small batches
- Here are more tips for using and preserving tomatoes and peppers
- sweet potatoes
Garden Maintenance in October
Once the harvesting has been taken care of, here are some tasks to work through to put the garden to bed or prepare for the cooler weather ahead.
- Add soil amendments to inactive gardens with a digging fork.
- It’s the perfect time of year to improve soil.
- Collect flower and herb seeds.
- Cut spent herbs and flowers, or leave seed heads to feed the birds through the winter. I like to cut back herbs and use them as fertilizer.
- Leave vegetable flowers for bees, then save the seed.
- Mulch beds.
- Here are some mulching tips.
- Prune black raspberries and other brambles.
- Here are some pruning tips.
- Remove diseased plant matter and dispose in garbage.
- Put (non-diseased) dead plant matter in the compost. Cut plants at the base and leave their roots intact.
- Set up a cold frame for fall and overwintering crops.
- Here are some cold frame tips.
- Water & weed.
I only sow and plant once I’ve got the existing garden under control.
- garlic (chesnok red hardneck variety is my favorite)
- berry bushes (Maybe some elderberry?)
- fruit trees
- Here are my fruit tree planting tips.
- rhubarb (try a beautiful red rhubarb)
How is your fall garden coming along?