October Gardening Tips

Getting Ready for Winter

October gardening is a bit of a mixture of maintenance, preparation and enjoyment.  There is a crispness in the air. Leaves are turning. And it is time to get out the fall decorations if you haven’t yet!

This month we will talk about what to plant and cleaning up, but we highly recommend visiting the OSU Extension website for more October gardening tips.

Looking for what blooms this month?  Download our monthly plant bloom calendar to help you decide!

What to Plant in October

  • Here in the Willamette Valley, you can still purchase and plant spring flowering bulbs throughout the month of October. Just be sure the soil is well drained and amended with some kind of conditioner or Bulb Food.
  • October is the optimum time to divide crowded areas of hostas, daylilies and other perennials.  Getting this done now will yield better blooms next year as well as a cleaner look this year.
  • Plant your bulbs AND some nice colorful Pansies and Violas. Add in some flowering cabbage or Kale for extra contrast.  By planting this way, you get to have winter color now and spring color when the bulbs start blooming.

Planting Vegetables in October

It’s now or never. The cool weather crops like cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower are still good to plant from transplants If garlic and onions are a favorite, you can get them planted now for late winter/early spring harvest.  However, if you are done for the season, then plant a cover crop to protect the soil. The most popular cover crops are crimson clover or fava beans. Cover crops add organic material to the soil when it is tilled under in spring, they also fix nitrogen and provide food for beneficial insects.

Trees and Shrubs

Planting trees and shrubs in early October is ideal. The soil is still warm and the evenings are cool, but not cold. These weather conditions will reduce transplant shock.  Fall planting allows the tree or shrub to establish necessary root systems needed for healthy growth in the spring.  If you have been waiting for the right time to either move or improve an area with trees or shrubs, this is the perfect time.