fall garden October
In the Garden

Top 5 Things to Do in your Garden in October

October is my favorite month. It’s the best. The annoying bugs go away, leaves begin to change color, humidity abates, and pumpkins abound. You can stop mowing the lawn very soon. You get to open the windows and let the fresh fall air in. If the air is chilly, you can put on a sweater and sit by a fire. What could be better?

It is also, hands down, the best time to plant. It just makes sense: the air is cooler; the soil is still warm. Trees, shrubs, perennials, turf grass, you name it, you can plant it in October (well, not warm weather annuals, but you get the picture…). The plantings get a chance to send out roots and establish themselves without oppressive heat, and that is what makes planting now most advantageous. Even the turf grass seedlings benefit from the early morning dew. It’s a great time of year.

Here are the top five things to do in your garden this October:


Plant your trees, shrubs, perennials, and winter annuals such as pansies and ornamental cabbage and kale. Of course you can plant these any time the ground isn’t frozen, but ideally fall is the time and October is the month.


Clean up your yard and garden beds, but not a heavy cleaning and pruning. Think about leaving your wildflowers through the winter as food source for the birds. Protect or move any potted plants before the first frost if you plan to overwinter them. The average first frost in eastern Sussex County is October 24th.


Focus on weed control. Fall annuals like chickweed will start to pop up. Get them now while they’re little. Pull them, rake them, or spray them – the choice is yours.


Clean up your veggie garden. Trust me, it is not going to get easier. Enjoy the last of your harvests before the frost and turn the soil over and keep weeds in check. It is also not too late to plant fall veggies like spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and lettuces. In a sunny spot you may be able to grow these all winter with little protection.


Aerate and overseed your lawn. First, mow your lawn a little closer than normal if you can. Use a core aerator. This is the one that pulls the little plug out of the ground. As you go, make passes perpendicular to each other. Then, you can broadcast out the seed right over the lawn area. If you have the time, rent an overseeder. This machine cuts a little slit into the soil and drops the seed in. Either way will work.

Make it a priority to spend plenty of time outside this month enjoying the fresh air and sunshine; stock up on your vitamin D for the upcoming winter! Once you are done in the yard, head to a local pumpkin patch like Mr. Pepper’s or Fifer’s to pick up some pumpkins and fall decorations to really enjoy the season!

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