October in the Garden – Orlando Sentinel

  • Average temperatures: High 85; low 65
  • Rainfall: 2.73 inches

1. Moon phases for October

  • First quarter: October 2
  • full moon: October 9
  • Last quarter: October 17
  • New moon: October 25
  • Plant above-ground crops: 2, 3, 6, 7, 25, 26, 29, 30.
  • Plant below-ground crops: 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22.
  • Control weeds: 4, 5, 13, 14, 31.
  • Prune trees and shrubs: 1, 8, 9, 10, 18, 19, 27, 28.

3. Vegetables: Beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onion, peas, potato, radicchio, radish, rhubarb, roquette, rutabaga, spinach, strawberry, Swiss chard and turnip

4. Flowers: African daisy, alyssum, angelonia, ageratum, begonia, black-eyed Susan, blue daze, calendula, candytuft, celosia, chrysanthemums, cleome, coleus, cornflower, cosmos, dianthus, dusty miller, gaillardia, gazania, geraniums, gerbera, heliotrope, hollyhock, impatiens, larkspur, lobelia, nicotiana, pentas, petunia, salvia, snapdragon, sunflower, sweet pea, verbena and zinnia.

5. Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, cardamom, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, lemon balm, lovage, mint, nasturtium, oregano, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram, tarragon, thyme and water cress.

6. Bulbs: African lily, agapanthus, amaryllis, anemone, bulbine, calla, crinum, day lily, gingers, gladiolus, pineapple lily, rain lily, society garlic, spider lilies, walking iris, watsonia. Refrigerate crocus, daffodils, hyacinth, narcissus and tulips for forcing.

7. Many lawns have a hungry look; apply lawn fertilizer to regenerate the turf.

8. Lawn fertilizers normally have no phosphorus: the middle number in the analysis.

9. October is the last feeding for bahia, centipede and zoysia lawns this year.

10. Weed and feed products labeled for your lawn may be substituted for a fertilizer-only product.

11. Regreen lawns that continuously have a yellow look with an iron or minor nutrient application.

12. Weed control-only products may be used following label instructions for your lawn type.

13. Herbicides may not control all weeds; pull, dig or use non-selective spot sprays as labelled.

14. October through spring is generally a good time to install sod.

15. Fill bare spots in lawns left from summer pests with sod or plugs.

16. Seeding time for bahia grass is over; delay rye seedings until late November.

17. All lawns should have a soil analysis every few years to determine fertilizer and pH needs.

18. Chinch bugs and sod webworms can linger into fall; control as needed.

19. Water turf when it shows signs of moisture stress.

20. Use soil aeration in compacted and poorly drained soils to encourage better root growth.

21. Continue mowing to maintain proper turf height; keep mowing height the same year-round.

22. Sharpen & balance mower blades to give a smooth cut to leaf blades

23. Change the oil and air filters of gas-powered equipment for fall.

24. Use mulch or ornamental ground covers in areas where turf won’t grow.

25. Great gardening time is here; complete warm season plantings early in the month.

26. If you are behind obtain fall tomato, pepper and eggplant harvests by using large transplants.

27. Stake or trellis tall or vining crops to keep the edible portions off the ground.

28. Feed gardens every 3 to 4 weeks with a traditional fertilizer or use a slow-release product.

29. Tomatoes begin setting and holding their fruits early to mid-month.

30. Add flowers to vegetable gardens to attract pollinators.

31. Prevent spray damage to pollinators; apply sprays when they are not active.

32. Caterpillars are feeding on cucumbers, melons and tomatoes; control with a natural spray.

33. Begin plantings of cool season vegetables around mid-month.

34. Gardeners cramped for space can grow vegetables in containers.

35. Start seeds for transplants of broccoli, cauliflower and similar vegetables in containers.

36. Add a mulch to the surface of the soil to conserve moisture and keep vegetables dirt free.

37. Groom summer weary herb plantings and start new ones that prefer the cooler weather.

38. Now vegetables & herbs need a moist soil; water when the surface begins to dry to the touch.

39. Fruit splitting on citrus trees is normal and may continue into the fall.

40. Help prevent citrus fruit drop and splitting; water once or twice a week during dry weather.

41. Give citrus a final feeding of the year during early October.

42. Till new garden sites and enrich sandy soils with garden soil, organic matter and manure.

43. Remove offshoots from pineapple plants to start new beds.

44. Start papaya seedlings for late winter transplants.

45. Add strawberry plants to a garden or build a pyramid for planting.

46. Delay pruning all fruit plantings until mid to late winter.

47. Speed ​​up the composting process by turning piles monthly.

48. Harvest maturing chayotes, cocoyams, dasheens and gourds.

49. Dig in the soil to check sweet potato plantings; now have swollen roots ready to harvest.

50. After a hot wet summer weeds are often out of control; pull or spot kill to prevent seeding.

51. Don’t let vines climb trees or grow over shrubs; remove or train to a trellis.

52. Remove errant or out-of-bounds shoots from landscape plantings.

53. Major pruning time is over for azaleas, bougainvillea, camellias, gardenias and poinsettias.

54. Shield poinsettias and holiday cactuses from nighttime light starting mid-month.

55. Shrubs, ground covers and perennials are ready for a final fall feeding.

56. Use a slow release fertilizer that can feed in-ground and container planting for months.

57. Now ornamental and shade trees do not need a special feeding.

58. Give palms a final feeding of the year with an 8-0-12-4mg fertilizer or similar product.

59. Palm diseases are prevalent; clean and sterilize pruners between palms.

60. Injections by arborists can protect phoenix and similar palms from lethal bronzing disease.

61. Be kind and only remove the brown fronds and flower stems from palms.

62. Give hedges a pruning now to allow new growths to mature before cold weather.

63. Remove suckers and low limbs from trees.

64. Whiteflies and mealy bugs are major pests; systemic insecticides offer good control.

65. Drier weather lies ahead; water when the surface soil begins to dry.

66. Now established trees and shrubs can go a week or more between waterings.

67. Trim away limbs and weeds affecting the operation of sprinkler systems.

68. Check container plantings for plugged drainage holes; repotting may be needed.

69. Maintain a mulch under trees and shrubs; start the mulch several inches from trunks.

70. Add fall plants to hanging baskets and container gardens.

71. Edge sidewalks and plant beds.

72. Replace soil in problem flower beds and planters.

73. Replant flower beds with cool season annuals and perennials; delay pansies until November.

74. Divide perennial and bulb plantings.

75. Give water lilies and bog plants a monthly feeding.

76. Plants reduce pollutants and create a pleasing atmosphere when added to homes and offices.

77. Many new foliage plants are available at garden centers; replace declining plants.

78. Foliage plants eventually grow too large for their containers; repot or divide as needed.

79. Groom outdoor foliage plants and begin moving them to a warm location.

80. Now foliage plants need a bright light location out of direct sun.

81. Feed plants in bright light monthly; less often in low light.

82. Control insects on plants before moving them indoors.

83. Begin forcing amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus for indoor displays.

84. Reduce watering of holiday cactuses to when the surface soil dries and discontinue feedings.

85. Make sure indoor poinsettias, holiday cactuses and kalanchoes receive no nighttime light.

Tom MacCubbin is an urban horticulturist emeritus with the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Write him: Orlando Sentinel, PO Box 2833, Orlando FL 32802. Email: TomMac1996@aol.com. Blog with Tom at OrlandoSentinel.com/tomdigs.