In the Garden: October
Monthly guide for gardening tasks, forecasts, and more

Update: This article has been updated to include additional to-do items for the fall garden, including Farmers' Almanac weather forecasts and moon phases, October 2015.

“There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir: We must rise and follow her, When from every hill of flame She calls, and calls each vagabond by name.” ― William Bliss

October's Garden To-do's
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.

Prepare Soil
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.

Full Hunter’s Moon or Full Harvest Moon – October: This full Moon is often referred to as the Full Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, or Sanguine Moon. Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains. Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, the Hunter’s Moon is generally accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes. Read more about moon phases and full moon folklore at the Farmers Almanac.
Gardening by the Moon, Farmers Almanac
13th-15th Start seedbeds. Favorable days for planting above-ground crops, and leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, kale, and celery where climate is suitable.16th-17th Do clearing and plowing, but no planting.18th-19th Plant tomatoes, peas, beans, and other above-ground crops, indoors in the North and outdoors in lower South.20th-22nd Poor planting days. Kill poison ivy, weeds, clear land, but no planting.23rd-24th Extra good for vine crops. Favorable days for planting aboveground crops where climate is suitable.25th-26th Barren days, do no planting.27th-28th Good days for transplanting. Good days for planting beets, onions, turnips, and other hardy root crops where climate is suitable.29th-30th Poor days for planting, seeds tend to rot in ground.31st Start seedbeds and flower gardens. Best planting day for fall potatoes, turnips, onions, carrots, beets, and other root crops where climate is suitable.
12th-15th Milder weather, then showers. 16th-19th Mostly fair. 20th-23rd Unsettled for Rockies, Plains. 24th-27th Clearing and colder. 28th-31st Wet weather, followed by clearing skies.
For forecasts for additional U.S. and Canada regions, consult the Farmers Almanac
Lawn Care
Fertilize with 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer. In newly-plugged lawns, sow 8 lbs. of rye grass 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.

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

Fruit: Strawberries

Gardening to-dos courtesy of the Garden Guide for Austin and Vicinity, published by the Travis County Master Gardener Association, copyright 2000-2002

Weather forecast and moon phase calendar courtesy of Farmers' Almanac. 


  1. Thanks for this! Makes me want to get out and start getting things done already.

    1. It really is the best weather for getting things done in my world! lol
      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. So so so much to do! Autumn is such a busy time, huh?

    P.S. Papa is Preacher would like to cordially invite you to our very first Link Up party beginning tomorrow (Thursday) at 9:30 a.m. going 'till Tuesday. Please see this post for more info:
    We'd really be honored to see you there!

    1. Thank you so much for dropping by and the invite! I'll hook up!

  3. looks like i have another busy weekend ahead of me. :-)

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