Maritime Northwest Victory Gardener’s Almanack for the month of October

Mike Dunton’s Maritime Northwest Edition Victory Gardener’s Almanack for the month of October

Fall Harvest of PumpkinsWhile this year’s garden is fresh in mind, create or update your garden journal with a sketch of what was planted where. Note any pest or disease problems. Record what varieties did well and what did not. This will help you layout your garden this winter and observe crop rotation in next year’s design.

In the Vegetable Garden


  • Sow mustard greens, corn salad, spinach, endive, and leaf-type lettuce varieties in greenhouses, cold frames or cloches for harvesting from February to April.
  • As long as the ground is well-drained, allow parsnips and salsify to remain  in the garden and harvest as needed over the winter.
  • Lift beets and turnips from the ground before hard freezing. They can be stored in boxes of damp (not wet) sand in a cool location (33ºF to 40ºF).
  • Carrots can be treated like parsnips. If danger of severe freezing presents,  lift and store like beets and turnips.
  • Store your cured pumpkins and squash higher up on shelves in your cellar (or cool, dark location) at temperatures around 50ºF.
  • Dig up, and pot, parsley, sage, tarragon, and oregano, and keep on a  sunny, south facing windowsill for fresh use over the winter.
  • Fertilize and mulch your dormant rhubarb plants. The old farm method is to use composted animal manure. Old rhubarb crowns can be rejuvenated by dividing into four pieces, immediately replanting them, fertilizing, and mulching to prepare them for their winter nap.
  • As you clear more garden spaces, continue sowing cover crops over the barren soil. The later sown seeds will still germinate and begin growing but will slow to a near halt during the short winter months. They will take off as soon as spring weather returns.
  • Clean, sharpen, and wipe your tools with a light coat of oil. Gas powered implements (mowers, tillers, chippers, etc.) should be prepared for storage per the instructions in the owner’s manuals.
In the Yard and Orchard
  • Keep leaves raked and removed from your lawn. Use them as mulch where needed or add them to your compost pile.
  • Gather all yard and garden debris and add to the compost pile. Separate out any visibly infested or infected material and burn it (or add it to municipal yard debris bin) to prevent problems next year.
  • Burn (or add to municipal yard waste bin) gladiola and dahlia tops as they provide a hiding place for European corn borers to overwinter.
  • Prepare the soil in your cold frames for next season by adding leaf mold, good garden soil, fresh sand and compost.
  • Clean up any fruit remaining under your fruit trees and bury in holes to help prevent insects and disease from wintering over.
  • Make sure that all of your perennial plants that go dormant over the winter are well marked. Mow your lawn at the end of its growing season to prevent matting.

Mike Dunton is the founder of the Victory Seed Company and one of the early signers of the Safe Seed Pledge. The Victory Seed Company works to preserve rare, threatened, heirloom seeds and to make them available to home gardeners. 


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