October Tasks

Night time temperatures are starting to dip into the upper 30’s.  Leaves on the fruit trees are beginning to drop.  Growth is slowing up in the garden and doing outdoor chores is so much more pleasing with the cooler days that have arrived at last.  October is the last hoorah before the first frost arrives here in Southern Utah, so it’s it time to begin preparing for winter in our gardens.

For those who cover garden beds with a row cover or frost blanket on the cold nights, there is still time to plant lettuce, radishes, kale and other hardy greens from seed.  Be sure they receive at least 8 hours of sunlight a day.

Continue cutting back growth on tomatoes that do not have tomatoes at this time.  Cutting back unneeded growth will push energy back, helping ripen what’s left on the vine.

If you have had problems with Peach Leaf Curl, Coryneum or Shothole Blight on stone fruit, spray with a Copper Fungicide once at least 50% off the leaves have dropped to protect buds during dormant season.

Begin clearing warm weather vegetable plants that are no longer producing.  By doing this chore here and there, rather than once everything has frozen, it won’t seem like such a daunting job.  Compost only disease free plants.

It’s time to get spring bulbs in now.  Planting them now will give them a chance to develop a root system before a freeze.  A 1 T. of bone meal in each hole to improve the bloom size in the spring.

Harvest sweet potatoes before a freeze.

Gather frost cover.  Frosts can wipe out tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other tender crops, but you can extend your growing season with a simple frost cover if you are prepared.  By having frost cover on hand, you will be ready when a the first cool night comes.  Generally we have a night or two that dips down to 30 degrees and then it warms back up for another week or two before another frost.  I always want ‘just a few more weeks’ of growing!

Persimmons are nearing ripeness this time of year.  Harvest when they have a full orange color for best flavor.