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October in the garden with pumpkins and mums

Lawn & Garden Tips

Fall garden with mums, rudbeckia and ornamental grass

In the Garden in October

Fall is for planting. October is one of the best months in the garden for both you and you're your plants. Now is the perfect time to plant trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, and cool-season annuals because as the days grow shorter and the soil cools down it feels like spring to these plants. They establish their roots in the soil before it becomes too cool and once our actual spring arrives, they take off and grow like crazy up on top. Be sure to use Dr. Earth Root Zone Starter Fertilizer to get the roots off to a good start.

Pumpkin season is here! Decorate your garden, containers, doorstep and home with pumpkins. Choose from classic orange jackpot pumpkins, mini pumpkins, white ghost pumpkins, heirlooms and more.

Seasonal color change out. It's time to refresh garden beds and containers with seasonal annual color. Cool-season flowers to plant now are Mums, Snapdragon, Pansies, Violas, Stock, Poppies, Primrose, Sweet pea, Cyclamen and more!

Perennials for fall color. These beauties grace our garden each year and are a great way to transition your garden into a fall look, attract pollinators and have an endless source of cut flowers. Our favorite perennials for fall include echinacea, rudbeckia, aster, lantana, yarrow and salvia.

Ornamental grasses add movement and interesting texture to gardens. The choices are amazing-from delicate, fine-textured gems to bold, colorful statements. They're low care, dramatic and have a great fall look.

Keep roses blooming. Snip off old, spent roses (deadhead) to redirect the roses energy into producing more blooms for you. Continue your rose program and treat roses with Bonide Rose Rx 3-in-1 to keep your roses fertilized while preventing bug and disease issues. This is especially important around the coast where morning haze can foster fungus.

Cut back Butterfly Milkweed. It's important to cut back milkweed back to just six inches tall to encourage natural monarch butterfly migration and allows the plant to "hibernate" during winter. They will burst again in spring just in time for the butterflies.

Plant bulbs for spring blooms. They're delayed satisfaction, but flowering bulbs are such nice spring surprises. You'll be glad you did. Bulbs are easy: dig, drop, done! There are lots of choices from tulips and daffodils to Bearded Irises that are waterwise with show-stopping flowers come early spring.

Succulents transition right into fall and are a great waterwise option. Add in color changing succulents that transform into vivid colors with the cooler temps.

Divide and transplant all types of perennials. Be sure to add in Dr. Earth organic starter fertilizer when replanting to give plants the nutrients they need to establish in their new home.

Veggie, Fruit & Herb Garden

Pumpkins & Squash: Now is the time to harvest your pumpkins and squash for fall feasts and decorating. Pick when they are fully colored and firm. To test, if your fingernail easily pierces or creates an indentation in the skin, the pumpkin isn't ready to harvest.

Strawberries: In California, strawberries can be grown nearly year-round. Now is the time to plant strawberries for a fall/early window harvest. Strawberries are easy to grow and can be planted in pots, the garden or even hanging baskets.

Lettuce, Kale, Spinach & Leafy Greens: It's the start of leafy green seasons! As temps start to cool, plant all your favorite greens including lettuce, spinach, kale, and chard. Leafy grows grow quickly and can be planted from a starter plant or even seed. Plant in the garden or a pot and place in full sun.

Broccoli, Cauliflower & Cabbage: It's time to plant broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage in the garden so they are ready for cool season soups and side dishes. The sooner in the month you plant them the sooner you get to harvest. Plant in full sun in the garden from starter plants or seed.

Herbs: Now is the time to think about all the savory herbs that will bring your holiday feasts to life and plant them in your garden. Rosemary, thyme and sage are the most popular herbs for the holidays.

Root Vegetables: Hearty and full of nutrients, now is the time to plant all the root vegetables including carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, and kohlrabi. To get the biggest, best crop plant in the garden in full sun.

Reduce water for deciduous fruit trees, doing this allows them to go dormant.

mixed lettuce in a wood planter
croton houseplant

For the Home

Fall flare. Decorate your home for call with houseplants in tones of red, orange and gold. Some of our favorite houseplants for fall include crotons, aglaonema, calathea and rex begonias.

Add houseplants for Halloween. Get in the Halloween spirit with spooky houseplants like Venus flytraps, sansevieria 'Twisted Sister' and 'Cylindrica', ric rac cactus and more.

Reduce watering for houseplants. Warm homes and moving air (that's your AC) mean houseplants dry out faster. Come mid-September, you may need to water less. Signs that houseplants are receiving to much water include yellowing leaves, squishy leaves or brown edges or spots on the leaves. Also, if you start seeing pests in the soil that's a sign it's receiving too much water.

Feeding time. Most houseplants are still actively growing so continue your feeding schedule. If you're not on a regular fertilizer schedule no problem. Stop by your local Armstrong and we can get you started.

Lawn Care

Rake leaves from the lawn and garden beds to prevent pests and diseases.

Prevent weeds and apply pre-emergent to your lawn. Apply Bonide DuraTurf Crabgrass & Weed Preventer. If you are reseeding; this will need to wait until spring.

Lower lawn mower blades for cool-season lawns (such as Marathon and fescue type grass) for fall and winter.

Feed your cool-season lawn. As the weather cools, these lawns want to grow more actively, so they need nutrients to support that growth. Apply Bonide Premium Lawn Food.

Time to overseed with a cool season grass seed. Use winter rye. Mow your existing St. Augustine or Bermuda lawn short and apply seed. Cover with Dr Earth Top Dress Seed Cover and Mulch and water regularly. New grass will sprout within 1 to 2 weeks.

Reduce watering. As the weather cools reduce your watering frequency and potentially time. Remember to water wisely being sure to water between 5-9am and water until just before you see runoff. This time of you watering twice a week is most appropriate.

If your lawn is overgrown now is the time to dethatch or aerate your lawn.

Raking fall leaves from the lawn
hummingbird eating from feeder

Bird Time

Keep your feeders full this month as the landscape transitions from summer to fall.

Be sure your hummingbird feeders are full to attract migrating hummingbirds.

Plant berries for the birds (and you). Keep the birds in mind when selecting your fall plants. Plant berry bushes like hollies, pyracantha, mahonia, and blueberries to keep the birds happy.