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Garden Chores for October

Don't miss the video link at the bottom of the page!


  • Don't be stingy when planing pansies.This is a good time to core aerate compacted soils.
  • If you have reseeded the lawn, it will be important to keep the tree leaves from accumulating. A leaf blower would be gentler on the seedling grass than the rake.


  • Fall is a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Pull roots loose on container grown plants and do not plant too deep. Water thoroughly before mulching.
  • Purchase spring blooming bulbs. Plant late in October or in November.
  • Plant pansies and ornamental cabbage.
  • Clean up the flower bed. Remove spent annuals. Shake out seeds if you want zinnias, cosmos, cleome, and the like to reseed.
  • When you cut back the perennials, you might want to leave seed heads for the small birds to finish off.
  • Clean up house plants before moving back indoors.
  • Take the time to cut them back and remove dead leaves and flowers. While you are at it, inspect carefully for insect infestations and treat before bringing the plants indoors.


  • There have been a lot of diseases in the gardens and orchards this year, making good sanitation especially important. As you rake leaves, also remove any fruit left in the trees and pick up all fruit from the ground.
  • Tend the strawberry bed if not done in September, pull weeds, fertilize, and water if needed.


  • Good sanitation is important in the vegetable garden as well. Remove spent plants to the compost pile or turn them into the soil to rot.
  • If tomato plants were infected with late blight, it is best to destroy those plants by burying deeply or bagging them and sending them out in the trash.
  • Harvest basil before frost zaps it. Make pesto or freeze the leaves for later use.
  • Consider planting a cover crop to turn under in early spring.
  • Spray all crucifers (cabbage family crops) with organic B.t. (Bacillus thruingiensis) every 7 to 10 days to kill the various caterpillars that eat the plants.


  • Leave hummingbird feeders out for late migrating birds.
  • Clean out bird houses. Songbirds will often use them on cold winter nights.
  • Fall is a great time to start a new compost pile. You can build a bin or just pile all that yard waste in the corner. More information on back yard composting.

For more information, watch BCTV 2's "October Garden Chores with Linda Blue" video or call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.