October in the Garden
Please come visit us at The Natural Gardener for the most comprehensive advice, plants, and organic gardening supplies appropriate to our area and the current season.
Tropical Milkweed: We strongly advise cutting this plant back sometime in October.
Scientists are still debating the long term effects of non-native tropical milkweed on the monarch population. If you have tropical milkweed growing in your Central Texas garden, we strongly advise cutting the plant back sometime in October. New tropical milkweed transplants will not be available for sale again until next spring.
We feel that native milkweeds are always the better option, but we continue to carry tropical milkweed for the following reasons:
- It is less challenging to grow and more suitable for beginner gardeners.
- It is a popular pollinator plant for many other insects apart from monarchs.
- Cutting back early addresses any overwintering concerns.
- Due to the widespread loss of habitat and wild foraging spaces, even a non-native option is better than none.
If you have concerns, we invite you to come in and share your research with us. New discoveries may lead to changes in future policies. Let’s help each other learn how to preserve our natural world!
Sow spring wildflower seeds
October is the best month to plant wildflower seeds. You will get a higher rate of germination and healthier plants by sowing seed in a prepared site. Scalp any existing grasses and remove the clippings so the seeds can make direct contact with the soil. Keep the site lightly moist with short, frequent waterings until the seedlings are about 1″ tall, then switch to less frequent, deeper waterings until healthy roots are established.
Plant all trees, shrubs, and perennials
Fall is the best season for planting in Central Texas! Plant all landscape plants, and sow winter cover crops in any unplanted veggie beds.
Garlic is a kitchen staple, good companion plant, and easy to grow. Softneck garlic is better suited for our area, and is best planted in October and November. Shallots, a cousin of garlic and onions are planted here in September and October. Soil preparation is similar for both, read our planting guide here.
Plant spring-blooming, naturalizing bulbs
Some bulbs require refrigeration and have to be replanted every year, but naturalizing bulbs are well-suited to our soils and climate. Anemones, oxblood lilies, spider lilies, grape muscari, and many types of narcissus have been gracing Austin homesteads for well over a hundred years, and continue to thrive today. They’ll return year after year, increase in number, and require virtually no care. Our shipment of these naturalizing bulbs typically arrives at the end of September and can be planted anytime this month.