What to Do This Month in the Garden – October

Time to plant garlic! According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the best way to get going with your garlic crop is the following:

~Prepare the soil with lots of compost and manure, garlic is a nutrient-hungry crop.

~Plant seed garlic (from a local nursery, farmer’s market, or online seed supplier), individual cloves, peels intact, pointy end up, 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart, then mulch 5-8” deep. If you don’t plan to mulch, proceed with planting cloves 5-6” deep.

Your crop will sleep over winter and develop in the spring and summer. Stay tuned for spring and summer how-to’s for your garlic crop, or visit https://www.almanac.com/plant/garlic

If you are interested in a long-range gardening project, we have garlic bulbils available for immediate planting!

What are those, you ask? Bulbils are the baby “cloves” of garlic developed from the flowering head. They take longer to produce garlic, but produce they will! Harvest occurs after growing for 2 years.

Ask for a packet at the reference desk. We have a limited amount, but they will come with instructions, making it a great family/school/ enthusiast project for a little compost or manure, and no cost at all!

If you don’t have a compost pile, and may not want to deal with one one, the easiest way to benefit and nourish your garden is to start a leaf/grass pile.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “leaves are the season’s most abundant crop. The trees have mined minerals from deep in the subsoil and bought them to the surface. Leaves are a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and more.

  • Leaf humus can lighten heavy clay soils.
  • They feed earthworms and beneficial microbes.
  • Leaves increase the moisture retention of dry, sandy soils.
  • They are a fabulous source of carbon to balance the nitrogen in your compost pile.
  • They insulate tender plants from cold.”

Most tree leaves will do the trick, but avoid oak leaves because they can be acidic. Just set up a cylinder of old wire fence or similar in a corner or other out-of-the-way place, and add to it as you mow and rake. Chopped leaves work best, but any leaves will break down over time. You can leave for next year, or use now as mulch when the garden is empty and the soil has been amended. Nature will do the rest!

Other reminders:

~Divide any perennials that need it.

~Clean up vegetable gardens as crops fade to discourage insects next year.

~Amend the soil with lime, bone meal, manure, compost as needed.


“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”