October in the Contra Costa Garden
October Garden To Dos
General Garden Care
- Reduce the watering schedule for lawns and perennials—ET rates have sharply declined.
- If it’s NOT raining, water trees and shrubs deeply (a minimum of 12”) at least once this month.
- IF it IS raining, turn off the irrigation system. Bait or trap for snails and slugs.
- Consider installing a rainwater harvesting system.
- Think fire safety! Prune low-lying branches of shrubs. Check eaves for leaf build-up and clear flammable plants away from your home. Clear all pine needles. Shred to use as mulch under irrigated, acid-loving plants, or compost. Trim off dead woody plant parts.
- Allow fallen oak and redwood leaves to remain as mulch under these trees, but shred them if you are in a high fire zone.
- Clean up your garden beds in preparation for the winter. Remove all dropped and diseased leaves from roses, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas. Compost these leaves only if you have a ‘hot’ compost pile.
Fruits & Vegetables
- Harvest tomatoes, basil, sage, oregano, parsley, zucchini, winter squash, peppers, late season apples, late season pears. Remove spent plants and compost.
- Add compost to your planting beds. At the beginning of the month, plant cover crops. For more cover crop information, go to http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/database/covercrops.
- Collect leaves from your neighbors for your compost piles or for use in sheet mulching beneath fruit trees and shrubs after picking all fallen fruit mummies.
- Plant transplants of cabbage, chard, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, garlic cloves.
- Plant by seed (beginning of month only): broccoli, lettuce, peas, beets, carrots,mustards, onions, kale, radishes, snap peas.
Flowers & Landscaping
- Lawns: mow thru the end of the month, aerate and top dress with compost this month or next. Better yet, replace lawns with something less thirsty.
- Consider planting a drought tolerant tree to replace birches or other common water-loving landscape trees. Drought-tolerant trees include native oaks, Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree), Cercis occidentalis (Redbud), and Olea europaea (Olive). For more tree information, check out www.canopy.org/index.html.
- Prune back – perennials such as Salvia (sages), Teucrium, Coreopsis, Penstemon, Achillea; shrubs such as Buddleia (butterfly bush), Nerium (oleander).
- Plant transplants of snapdragons, stock, nemesia.
- Plant by seed (beginning of month only): wildflowers such as larkspur, lupine, clarkias, Collinsia, Nigella damascena, Eschscholzia californica; ornamentals such as sweet peas, bulbs, sweet william, calendula, alyssum, baby blue eyes, bachelor's buttons, Shirley poppies.
USDA zones range from 8-9B
Sunset zones range from 7-17
Average max. temp. 74.8°F, 23.8°C
Average min. temp. 47.6°F, 8.7°C
Average rainfall 1.25”, 3.18 cm.
Local Weather Information
Linked data is from the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) weather stations. Visit CIMIS web site.
Contra Costa County Stations
Month by Month Information
January in the Contra Costa Garden
February in the Contra Costa Garden
March in the Contra Costa Garden
April in the Contra Costa Garden
May in the Contra Costa Garden
June in the Contra Costa Garden
July in the Contra Costa Garden
August in the Contra Costa Garden
September in the Contra Costa Garden
October in the Contra Costa Garden
November in the Contra Costa Garden
December in the Contra Costa Garden