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October To Do List

bluebonnets central texas front yard

Plant: ornamental & wildlife

  • Perennials, shrubs, ornamental (clumping) grasses
  • Cover crops for dormant vegetable beds: clover, hairy vetch, elbon (cereal) rye, Austrian winter peas, or annual rye
  • Late: native wildflower seeds like bluebonnets, phlox, Mexican hat, Indian paintbrush, Indian blanket (gaillardia). Also, non-native poppies, larkspurs, hollyhocks

Plant: herbs

  • Perennials thyme, oregano, lavender
  • Cilantro seeds or transplants, parsley, dill, fennel , chervil, summer savory, borage

Plant: food crops

Prune

  • Oak trees safe to prune

Divide/Move

  • Iris, daylily, fern, liriope, spring-blooming perennials, violets

Prep

  • Add compost to vegetable gardens along with organic fertilizer if not already done
  • Decide wildflower seeds and bulbs to plant in November
  • Mulch tropical and semi-cold-hardy plants like gingers, Esperanza, Pride of Barbados, Firecracker fern, bananas.
  • Take cuttings of tender annuals to propagate in warmth to renew your garden next spring
  • If temps dip, cut basil and preserve in oil in the freezer
  • Collect seeds of annuals to dry and store inside until next spring.

Lawn

  • Fertilize with an organic slow release formula like 8-2-4 or similar ratio. Avoid products with too much nitrogen. This is the best time of year to fertilize.
  • Brown patch: Apply a quarter inch of compost. Apply corn meal. Find out what’s causing the problem like low drainage spots or compacted areas.
  • Mow high to fend off weed seeds that are germinating. Taller grass shades them out.

Other tasks

  • Late month: get row cover or plan other protection in case of early frost in November
  • Cut basil to freeze in oil in ice cube trays to use this winter in soups and stews
  • Collect seeds from summer annuals to dry and store indoors until next spring
  • Get houseplants ready to move inside. Investigate for any “buddies” that could be coming indoors with them.

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