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October Gardening Tips and To-Dos for the Pacific Northwest Region

Fall is finally here and there is so much to do in the garden now that the summer flowers are fading away. Here are some October gardening tips and to-dos for your Pacific Northwest garden during this busy time of transition.

October gardening tips and to dos

October Gardening To-Dos

It’s the beginning of the fall season and things are going to get busier than ever.

Not only do the spent summer annuals need to be replaced in containers and window boxes, but it’s also time to start working on the gardening projects that will set you up for success the following year.

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Here are some October gardening tips and things to do in your Pacific Northwest garden.

café au lait dahlias

Maintenance in the Fall Garden

  • Continue cutting back any perennial flowers that are dying off.
  • Start the process of putting the garden to bed for winter by picking up any dead plant material and decomposing fallen fruit in perennial beds that could attract insect pests.
  • Pull spent summer annuals.
October gardening: coneflowers
  • Divide and replant overcrowded perennials that have finished flowering. This will not only give you extra plants to use in other areas of your garden but it’s a great way to make plants healthier by taking out the dead centers.
  • Keep up on the weeds in the garden so they don’t get out of control.
  • Remove leaves from your lawn by mulching them with the lawn mower. Add a layer of this mulch or other organic matter to your garden beds to protect plants and bulbs over the winter.

October gardening: harvested tomatoes

Harvesting Vegetables and Flowers

  • Harvest and preserve herbs so they can be either dried or frozen for cooking.
  • October gardening includes harvesting apples, tomatoes, pumpkins, gourds, and squash that still remain in the garden.

zinnia bloom heads from the October garden

Collect Seeds for Next Year’s Garden

  • This is a perfect time to save seeds from any flowers or vegetables you want to grow again next year.

October gardening: cool weather fall annuals

What Can you Plant In the Pacific Northwest in October?

  • Plant new trees, shrubs, and perennials in October. It’s not too late for them to develop an established root system before a hard freeze.
  • Add some autumn color in the garden when you replace spent summer annuals with cool season fall flowers such as pansies, violas, ornamental grasses, ornamental kale and cabbage, asters, mums, and coleus for a pop of color.
  • Spring bulbs can still be planted before a heavy frost. Check here to see when your hardiness zone average first frost date is. Mulch to protect them from the heavy frost.
  • Plant cool season edibles.

geraniums overwintering in the greenhouse

Overwinter Plants

Depending on when your average first frost date is, you may want to start the process of overwintering some of your plants.

  • I overwinter my geraniums in the greenhouse every year, but if you don’t have a greenhouse you can still keep them safe from the hard frost in the winter. Read my post to see how.
  • If you choose to dig up and store your dahlias for winter, it needs to be down before the first hard frost. If you are going to keep them in the ground, add a layer of mulch on top of the tuber area.
patio furniture

Start Preparing for Winter

  • Winterize irrigation systems and water features.
  • Clean and put away any outdoor patio furniture, cushions, and umbrellas for the season.

I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that have worked for me personally.

October gardening: strawflowers

I hope this gives you an idea of some gardening to-dos that need to be done here in the Pacific Northwest for the month of October. There is so much you can do this month to set your garden up for success next spring and summer.

Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Happy Gardening


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