Thursday, October 2, 2014

To Do In The Garden - October

Okay - courtesy of Dustin and the other wonderful folks at Sloat Nursery in Danville, here's what you should be doing in the garden this month.  And check out the cool pumpkins and squashes they have for sale!  No watering required.  

(And if you sign up for their e-newsletter, all this info  - and more! will appear in your inbox.  Lucky you.)

Sloat's Bay Area Gardening Guide: October


  • Plant it Now! Fall is the best time to plant foxglove, canterbury bells and other biennials. Plant cyclamen in October/early November. It’s also a great time to plant ground covers and sweet peas.
  • Think fall & winter color: Violas and pansies are perfect for creating mass color in containers or flowerbeds. Available in a variety of hues, they are a terrific ground cover for spring bulbs.
  • For a hardy alternative, consider planting ornamental grasses. Grasses require little upkeep and can create a beautiful screening effect against the house or fence.
  • Fall is for planting! Get container shrubs, perennials and trees into the ground this month. Winter rains will help develop a strong root system.
  • Decorate for fall: We have ornamental kale, mums, iceland poppies, snapdragons, stock and ornamental grasses for waves of autumnal color. Also, stop by for pumpkins, then carve something ghoulish and enter it in our Pumpkin Carving Contest.
  • Select and plant maples for fall color (now is the time to see fall color).
  • Select bulbs for spring bloom and winter forcing. Begin chilling bulbs that need an artificial winter: Tulips, freesia, crocus & hyacinth need 4–6 weeks of refrigeration before planting.


  • Top-dress perennial beds, azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons with Sloat Forest Mulch Plus and feed with 0-10-10 fertilizer monthly until bloom (E.B. Stone Organics).
  • Feed spring blooming shrubs with 0-10-10 fertilizer. Feed citrus with Maxsea.


  • Prepare planting beds for winter. Clear weeds and rocks. Till soil and add soil amendments.
  • Divide the roots and rhizomes of perennials such as agapanthus, yarrow and iris.
  • Lightly prune Japanese maples while still in leaf.
  • It’s time to fill your bird feeders for winter. You can also try a suet feeder!


shutterstock_23358712October & November are truly the most advantageous months of the year to get perennials, trees, vines, shrubs and cool season vegetables into the ground. Planting now will allow roots to become well established for much stronger, more vigorous plants come springtime. Fall and winter rains mean nature does the weekly watering for you, plus most gardeners see fewer pest and disease problems in the fall. 

REMINDER: Plant bulbs this fall and enjoy a festival of color next spring!

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