October: To Do
If you print out this page, you should get little boxes
where the bullets are, making this a check list.
Oh, and if you really think that I actually do all of these
things, you are terribly confused. Sometimes I even (gasp)
do things that aren't on this list.
I can only guarrentee this list is accurate for the things that
I grow. I do not grow every item on this list. This list
is targetted to Sunset Zone 14,
specifically, and I think it is good for all of USDA Zone 9. In
addition, it is probably pretty accurate for USDA Zones 10-11.
- Diablo Bonsai Club: Basic 1 meeting, 7:30 p.m. Monday,
October 4, 1999 - Talk on group planting and winter tree preparation.
Joint meeting, 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 11, 1999 -
Talk on recent exhibit and workshop on techniques. Heather Farm
Garden Center, 1540 Marchbanks Dr., Walnut Creek, 925/757-0310
- Merrit Jr. College Annual Plant Sale. First weekend in October,
Merrit Jr College, Oakland.
General (or it never ends)
- Weed. The growing season never ends here, and neither does
- Snails and slugs. I use a powder bait that my dogs do not
eat. I find that it works best for me over and above beer or
other home rememdies. However, my mother's dog had to
have her stomach pumped because she, the dog, ate a
bunch of powder snail bait on the ground.
- Water. Our average rainfall is 14 inches. That means that
watering is a chore that continues all year round.
- Fall Cleanup.
- Pick up debris like fallen branches and broken pots to
reduce overwintering sites for snails, slugs, insects,
- Remove dying annuals and veggies and fallen leaves. Add
these (unless they are full of seeds) to the compost
- Fungus and infections include black spot, rust, powdery
mildew, rotted stems or branches, large, irregular
galls near soil. Remove all infected plants. Do not
compost. It is especially important to pick up the
fallen leaves of roses and the fallen blooms of
camillias. Both can harbor disease.
- Rinse gardening tools with 1 part bleach to 3 parts
water and lightly coat with oil.
Trees and Shrubs
- Keep roots of mail-order plants moist until planting
- Plant evergreens and vines. (Wait until next month to plant
deciduous trees, shrubs, and vines.) Hollies, barberry,
pyracantha, or toyon shrubs can be blooming in time for the
- Stake new trees. Check stakes on established trees.
- Fertilize trees and shrubs that bloom in the spring.
Feed azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons with an acid
- Water new plants regularly and established plantings deeply in
- Thin camellia buds to promote bigger blooms.
- If blossom blight is a problem in your camellias, spray
with a fungicide containing PCNB.
- Deadhead and prune fall-blooming shrubs, example crepe myrtle,
when they finish flowering.
- Prepare your trees for storms.
- Look for overhead wires that are in contanct with branches.
If you have this problem, call PG&E.
- Check for dead or partially attached limbs that could fall
in a high wind.
- Look for cracked stems, branched forks, hollow or
decayed areas on the trunk and mushrooms growing from the
base of the tree. If the problem can be cut off, you can
take care of the disease yourself, otherwise you probably
need professional help.
- Check out the National
Arborist Association if you do need help.
- For hybrid tea roses, remove the side buds.
The rose laterals can be cut back to strong eyes that will produce
long-stemmed specimens. This is for hybrid teas, only.
- Continue watering. It isn't the rainy season, yet.
- Pull off yellow or old leaves on the bushes.
- Check for disease and remove any affected leaves. You are
looking for powdery mildew, black spot, rust, etc.
- Clean up under roses. Pick up fallen leaves. Do not add
leaves from roses to compost pile. They tend to be disease
prone and you can continue to spread diseases in your garden.
- Remove weeds and cultivate. Add organic mulch like compost,
- Feed roses.
- Check staked roses. The windy season is upon us.
- Do NOT prune. I prune late January/early February.
Lawns and Ground Covers
- Renovate lawns.
- Aerate, if not done in spring.
- Add Ironite to improve drainage.
- Topdress with compost
- Water in fertilizer.
- Feed (one (1) pound nitrogen per 1000 feet of lawn).
- Plant chrysanthemums and primroses for fall color.
- Watch for aphids on mums.
- This is a good time to plant Shasta Daisies. Mine do great
under the cedar tree (in the sun) and reseed themselves.
- Plant bulbs, daffodils, iris, ranunculus, freesia,
this month and early next month. I recommend
chilling your tulip bulbs until January and planting
- When planting bulbs, be generous with bonemeal. Put some at
the bottom of the hole, add a layer of dirt, and then place
the bulb in the hole.
- I don't lift my dahlias, but if you do, wait until the tops have
- Plant sweet peas from seed or transplants for late winter bloom.
- Pansies and snap dragons are good choices for a sunny location; as
is sweet alyssum. Alyssum will freely reseed.
- Violas and stock are nice in the shade.
- Plant foxglove and sweet William (biennials) for bloom next spring.
- Feed newly planted annuals with a liquid fertilizer.
- Deadhead faded blooms.
Kitchen Garden: Vegetables and Herbs
- This month is the last to start your winter
- A product with "BT" in it will protect your plants
from cabbage worms. I don't like using these because
they kill monarch butterfly larvae as well as other
- Pull up spent veggies like cucumber, beans, and corn.
- Plant pomegranates and persimmons for ornamental
and edible fruit.
- Feet fruit trees.
House, greenhouse, or conservatory plants
- If a frost threatens, bring in your tender tropicals.
Other: Structural and Special
- Even tho I don't store any of my tools, this is a
good month to check for repairs and to sharpen and oil
A printable version for October.
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