Southwest gardening in October is beautiful; summer has gradually winded down, days are shorter and more comfortable, and it’s a perfect time to be outdoors. Use this opportunity to take care of those October garden tasks. What to do in the Southwest in October? Read on for a regional to-do list.
Regional To-Do List: Southwest Gardening in October
- Planting new perennials in October will give the roots time to establish before the cooler days of winter.
- Fall is also a perfect time to divide existing perennials that are overcrowded or unproductive. Toss out old, dead centers. Replant the divisions or give them away.
- Harvest winter squash, leaving 1 to 3 inches (2.5-8 cm.) of stem intact. Put the squash in a sunny spot for about ten days before moving them to a cool, dry spot for storage, but be sure to bring them in if nights are frosty. Pick green tomatoes when temperatures fall consistently below 50 degrees F. (10 C.). They’ll ripen indoors in two to four weeks.
- Plant garlic in full sun and well-drained soil. October is also a good time for planting horseradish. Plant cool season annuals like pansy, dianthus, and snapdragon.
- Gradually decrease watering to harden plants for winter. Stop fertilizing by Halloween, especially if you expect hard freezes. Clean up leaves, dead plants, and other garden debris that may harbor pests and disease over the winter.
- October garden tasks should include weed removal by hoeing, pulling, or mowing. Don’t allow pesky weeds to go to seed. Clean and oil pruners and other garden tools before putting them away for the winter.
- Your regional to-do list should also include at least one visit to a botanical garden or arboretum in the Southwest. For example, Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, ABQ BioPark in Albuquerque, Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City, or Ogden’s Botanical Gardens, and Red Hills Desert Garden, to name just a few.