Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence
To do in the garden in October
Fertilize existing beds of iris with well-rotted manure or balanced fertilizer. Reduce houseplant fertilizer by 1/2 for winter.
Water areas as needed.
Divide and transplant crowded perennials. Dig and store caladium bulbs. Dust with fungicide.
Mulch gingers and other tropicals that overwinter outdoors to retain warmth and moisture and to control weeds. Falling leaves make autumn a good time to start a compost pile. Shred (or mow) leaves to speed decomposition. Turn compost pile periodically and keep it moist.
Fertilize with 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer. In newly-plugged lawns, sow 8 lbs. of ryegrass per 1000 sq. ft. to help hold soil. The seed grass will make a bright green carpet until spring, when hot weather will kill rye. Not recommended for established lawns. Mow every 5-7 days and leave the clippings on the lawn.
Diseases/Pests to look out for
Check for cabbage loopers in the garden; spray with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Make second treatment for brown patch on lawns with a history of the disease.
Prune shrubs as needed, but save major pruning for the winter. Remove dead and damaged wood from shrubs and trees. Make cuttings of tender plants before frost.
To Plant In October
Flower Plants: ajuga, alyssum, bluebonnet, butterfly weed, calendula, candytuft, carnation, chinese forget-me-not, clarkia, coneflower, dianthus, daisy (english and painted), euryops, forget-me-not, gazania, indian blanket, liatris, nasturtium, pansy, penstemon, petunia, phlox, viola, obedient plant, german primrose, salvia farnacea, sedum, snapdragon, stock
Flower Seeds: alyssum, african daisy, bluebonnet, calendula, columbine, coreopsis, cornflower, daisy, delphinium, hollyhock, larkspur, nasturtium, pansy, petunia, phlox, pinks, california poppy, scabiosa, snapdragon, stock, sweet pea, viola
Bulbs: allium, amarcrinum, calla, autumn crocus, cooperia, daylily, dietes, hardy cyclamen, spider lily, liriope, louisiana iris, ipheion, lily, lycoris, oxalis, monkey grass, rain lily, scilla, watsonia
Purchase: tulip, crocus, daffodil, and hyacinth for chilling
Early—Mid Month: Arugula, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Collard Greens, Kohlrabi
Mid—Late Month: Carrot, Endive, Lettuce, Spinach, Turnip
All Month: Beets, Chard, Garlic, Mustard, Multiplier Onion, Radish
Dig sweet potatoes before first frost.
Herbs: borage, burnet, caraway, catnip, celeriac, chamomile, chervil, chives, comfrey, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, fenugreek, lemon balm, mexican mint marigold, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, santolina, winter savory, sorrel, thyme, yarrow
Courtesy of the Garden Guide for Austin & Vicinity, published by the Travis County Master Gardener Association, copyright 2000-2002