10 Things to Do in the Garden in October

Our October planting and maintenance guide for the greater San Diego area right now, plus where to find inspiration

october garden

10 Things to Do in the Garden in October

Whether you are planting a fall garden or are putting your garden to bed for the season, here’s what to do in October:

october garden1. Grow onions. Scallions, bulb and gourmet cipollini thrive in cool-season gardens here. Some tried and true short-day varieties include yellow ‘Granex’ and ‘Texas Super Sweet’ and red ‘Desert Sunrise’ and ‘Red Burgundy.’

2. Plant autumn-blooming sages like ‘Waverly’ and  ‘Purple Majesty’ varieties.

3. Ready garden beds for cool-season edibles. Remove spent summer growers and dropped fruit or leaves, loosen compacted soil and add compost or other organic material.

4. Dig and divide perennials like daylilies (in inland gardens), alstroemeria, clivia, agapanthus (late in the month), iris, ivy geraniums and verbena.

5. Visit the nursery for cool-season seedlings like peas, chard, Brussels sprouts and kale.

6. Keep pruned foliage, dropped leaves, seed pods and berries to use for holiday decor from Halloween through New Year’s.

7. Train a California native wild grape along a sturdy pergola or arbor for a blazing gold-and-red display in fall.

8. Add brilliant fall color to your landscape with Chinese pistache, smoke trees, tulip trees and sweet gums.

october garden fall color

9. Buy paperwhite bulbs and begin now to force them into bloom for Thanksgiving.

10. Harvest homegrown pumpkins that are ripening now. Use the big ones for Halloween decoration; the small, sweet ones for pies.

October Garden Events: Where You May Find Me This Month

I’m going to be shopping for plant sales that are abundant in October—just in time for fall sowing. I’ll be checking:

The San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas for its Fall Plant Sale (Oct. 19-20) and Cactus and Succulent Show (Oct. 26-27)

Balboa Park for the Fall California Native Plant sale (Oct. 12) and the local Orchid Society show and sale (Oct. 26-27) both at Casa del Prado

What’s Inspiring Me Right Now

I’ve been following landscape designer Nick McCullough’s Pinterest boards since March, and now I’m subscribing to his blog, thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com. Nick’s a visionary and his blog is always colorful and full of smart ideas.

I’m following pinterest.com/beunique for out-of-the-box inspiration. These boards from Edmond, Oklahoma landscape designer Helen Weis of Unique by Design Landscaping & Containers are all about elevating your thinking when it comes to plants and reimagining florals in containers.

I’m also following Julia @olivewooddesigns for her wonderful sense of humor and incredible taste. She’s a fellow Fallbrookian and has a fabulous green thumb. If you love dahlias, poppies and roses, head over to her Instagram to get all the best tips from a real flower lover! 

Categories: Garden Guide, Garden Planner, Garden Planner Current Month, Gardening