October Tips for the Garden

October is the month of autumn color, leaf drop, pumpkin carving, and evenings spent around a bonfire. Prepare your garden for winter and follow these tips to make it all easier.

pumpkins and gourds
Pumpkins and Gourds

Things to do in the Vegetable Garden

  • Harvest pumpkins when the skin starts to turn orange or when the skin cannot be pushed in by your fingernail
  • Harvest winter squash when the skin cannot be pushed in by your fingernail
  • Plant garlic now in rows or blocks
  • Apply shredded leaves or compost to permanent beds before winter
  • If you have not yet cleaned up from this year’s crops, do this now –
    • Pull and compost beans, pea vines, lettuce and other greens, and anything that does not have diseases
    • Pile and burn cornstalks, tomato vines, sweet potato vines, and pumpkin and squash vines to prevent diseases and pests from overwintering

Things to do in the Landscape/Flower Beds

  • The average first frost for Northeast Kansas is October 15th

When is YOUR average first frost date?

  • Remove all spent or dying annual flowers after the first frost or hard freeze and put in the compost pile
  • Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs
  • Remove spent foliage from hostas, daylilies, peonies, and irises after a hard freeze
  • Plant trees and shrubs
  • Wrap young trees’ trunks (less than 5 years in the ground and diameter less than 4 inches) with plastic tree guards, fabric, or paper to prevent winter sunscald

Things to do in the Lawn

  • Mulch mow leaves on the lawn and remove piles to the compost
  • Spray lawn with a post-emergence herbicide to kill dandelions, creeping Charlie, and clover
  • Water newly planted grass

Setting Up the Fire Pit Area

Roasting Marshmallows over a fire
Roasting marshmallows
  • Remove old ashes to the compost pile
  • Use only dry kindling and logs
  • Mow the grass short (2 inches) around the pit if it is in the lawn
  • Bring plenty of marshmallows, roasting sticks, and chocolate!

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