Southwest gardening is beautiful in October. Summer is slowly disappearing, the days are shorter and more comfortable, and it’s the perfect time to be outside. Take this opportunity to take care of your October garden chores. What should I do in October in the Southwest? Read on for regional job listings.
Regional To-Do List: Gardening the Southwest in October
Planting new perennials in October will give the roots time to establish before the cold days of winter.
Fall is a great time to divide existing perennials that are overcrowded or unproductive. Throw out the dead old centers. Reinstall the partition or leave it out of the way.
Harvest the winter squash, leaving an inch (2.5-8 cm) of the stem intact. Store the squash in a sunny location for ten days before moving it to a cool, dry place for storage, but be sure to bring it indoors if the nights are cool. Pick green tomatoes when temperatures consistently drop below 50°F (10°C). They will mature indoors in two to four weeks.
Plant garlic in full sun and well-drained soil. October is also a good time to plant horseradish. Plant cool-season annuals such as pansies, dianthus, and snapdragons.
Reduce watering gradually to harden the plants for the winter. Stop composting by Halloween, especially if you’re expecting a hard freeze. Get rid of leaves, dead plants, and other garden debris that can harbor pests and diseases during the winter.
October garden chores should include weeding by hoeing, pulling or mowing. Don’t allow nuisance weeds to go to seed. Clean and oil your pruners and other garden tools before putting them away for the winter.
Your regional to-do list should also include a visit to at least one botanical garden or arboretum in the Southwest. For example, Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Dallas Arboretum Botanical Garden, ABQ Biopark in Albuquerque, Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City, Botanical Garden in Ogden, and Red Hills Desert Garden, to name a few.