Monthly Archives: October 2016

fall leaves

October Gardening Tips

Hello Friends, Neighbors, Fellow Gardeners,

Fall is here and it’s time to enjoy the fall colors and fall crops!  Here are some gardening tips, educational opportunities, and events for October. Events include the Harvest Festival at the Agricultural History Farm Park, Winter Wonders – Winter Squash cooking demo class at Brookside Gardens, our MCT Garden Club meeting on Tuesday, October 25th, with Master Gardener, Stan Fisher, who will provide tips on Planting for Birds, Urban Gardening workshop,  2016 Trees Matters Symposium, and more!


  • Harvest most fruits before frost. Check the link to the calendar below for the first Fall frost dates (starting around mid-October).
    • first_frostFall Frost/Freeze Dates in Maryland | University of Maryland Extension
  • As beds empty, make changes to shape and size of beds.
  • Gather seeds and carefully label them. Store in a dry location.
  • Collect plant seeds for next year’s planting and for trading.
  • Clean, sharpen, and store your garden tools.
  • Attend a local garden club meeting.
  • Visit the National Arboretum’s website to learn more about fall plants. The National Arboretum has a Fall Colors gallery, with pictures of numerous species, a plant list, and a summary of the science of fall color.
  • Visit the U.S. Botanical Garden! It’s autumn and Halloween season! Check out these solanum-aethiopicumfun pumpkin-on-a-stick (Solanum aethiopicum). Come find these Ethiopian eggplants brightening up the Garden Court!
  • Go on a local house or garden tour to see what plants are thriving in other’s area home gardens:

Flowers and Groundcovers:

  • From mid-October through November, plant hardy bulbs for spring flowering.
  • Pull out spent summer annuals.
  • Plant hardy mums and fall season annuals.
  • Divide and move perennials.
  • Start planting spring blooming bulbs.
  • Cut foliage of irises to 2″.
  • After hard frost, sow seeds of spring-blooming hardy annuals and perennials and then mark beds!
  • Collect dried flowers for an indoor vase.
  • Dig up bulbs from your Gladioli, cut off foliage, dry for a week, and then store for the winter.
  • Leave seedheads on Black-eyed Susans, Echinacea, Goldenrod, Sunflowers, and Thistles for birds to enjoy over the susans_cropped
  • Sow wildflower seeds, such as California Poppies, for next spring.
  • Look out for any Poison Ivy vines, which will turn crimson in the fall and be easy to distinguish between other vines.
  • Pests to watch for: Aphids, spidermites, whiteflies
  • Diseases to watch for:  powdery mildew, fungal leaf spot
  • See UMD’s HGIC’s October Flower tips for more details.

Trees and Shrubs:

  • Transplant trees and shrubs.
  • Transplant trees when the leaves begin to color.
  • Plant evergreens for winter interest.December-hollys
  • Water evergreens and new plantings to keep them hydrated this winter.
  • Water slowly and deeply if weather is very dry.
  • Continue removing diseased leaves.
  • Check for bagworms, pick off, bag, and dispose of them.
  • Pests to watch for: Voles.
  • Diseases to watch for: Powdery mildew.
  • See HGIC’s October Trees and Shrubs Tips for more details.

Herbs, Veggies, and Fruit:

  • Harvest most fruits before frost.
  • Plant garlic now through the end of October.
  • Plant cover crop where nothing is growing.
  • Plant cover crops in your vegetable and annual beds (i.e., rye, clover, hairy vetch, and winter peas).
  • Set up a cold frame, then plant lettuces, radishes, and carrots from seed.
  • Check that all vines are securely tied against winter’s cold winds.
  • Cut garden herbs and hang to dry in a cool, dry place indoors.
  • Harvest sweet potatoes.
  • Dig up and store potatoes in a cool, dark spot.
  • Mulch strawberry beds for winter.
  • Weed.
  • You can still have your vegetable garden and landscape soils tested.pumpkins_horiz
  • Pick pumpkins at your local pick-your-own farm or visit a local farmer’s market.
  • Pests to watch for: Squash vine borer, slugs.
  • Diseases to watch for: Powdery mildew, fungal, bacterial, viral diseases.
  • Here are some more fruit and vegetable gardening tips for October from UMD’s HGIC.


  • Have soil tested (every 3 years minimum).  Apply lime as needed to adjust pH.
  • Fertilize tall and fine fescues and bluegrass with 1 lb. Nitrogen per 1000 square feet.
  • Put diseased leaves, pesticide-laden grass clippings and weed seeds out for keep_calm_compostrecycling rather than the compost pile. Check your recycling guidelines.
  • Mulch or compost healthy leaves.
  • Turn your compost pile weekly and don’t let it dry out. Work compost into your planting beds.
  • Diseases to watch for: dollar spot, brown patch and red thread
  • Pests to watch for: Grubs
  • See HGIC’s October Lawn Tips for more details.


  • For readying Christmas cactus and poinsettia for holiday blooming, see HGIC’s Christmas Cacti Guide and Poinsettia Care Guide.amaryllis
  • Bring in tender plants before night temperatures dip to 60 degrees.
  • Bring Paper Whites and Amaryllis indoors for holiday blooming.
  • Take cuttings of plants you want to overwinter inside and place in water.
  • Monitor for insect problems.
  • Pests to watch for: Spidermites, mealybug, scale, aphids,  whitefly
  • See HGIC’s October Houseplants Tips for more tips.

Indoor/Outdoor Insect and Wildlife Tips:

  • Start feeding birds to get them in the habit for this winter.
  • USDA Blog » As the Weather Cools, Your Firewood Choices Matter | October is Firewood Awareness Month.
  • Apply deer deterrent spray.
  • Deer may cause damage by antler rubbing during the fall breeding season. “Tree protectors, such as plastic tree wrap, tubes, or 4′ woven wire cylinders, provide a physical barrier to prevent damage. Repellents are not an effective control against antler rubbing.” See HGIC’s Tips on Deer Management.deer_with_antlers
  • See HGIC’s October Insect Tips for more details.
  • Watch for: rabbits, groundhogs, deer, moles, snakes, squirrels, and voles.
  • For more information on wildlife management and attracting wildlife see HGIC’s October Wildlife tips.

Source: University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC) and the Washington Gardener.


See below for upcoming local events in October.

Montgomery Parks Special Events & Festivals

More events are being added regularly. Please check back often!

Additional information on Fall Festivals: Montgomery Parks Announces 2016 Fall Festivals

fall-leafSave the date for these upcoming Fall events! Events include the Harvest Festival at the Agricultural History Farm Park, Urban Gardening workshop, Winter Wonders – Winter Squash cooking demo class at Brookside Gardens, 2016 Trees Matters Symposium, and more!


Urban Gardening

Saturday, Oct. 15th

10:30AM-2:30PM at the Silver Spring Library. Learn all about microgreens, and about keeping houseplants healthy.




Winter Wonders – Winter Squash cooking demo class

Monday, October 17, 12:00-1:30pmwinter_squash

Brookside Gardens

1800 Glenallan Avenue
Wheaton, MD 20902

Adrienne Cook, Garden and Cooking Writer
Danielle Cook, Holistic Nutritionist and Cooking Instructor

Those hard-shelled beauties of all color and shape – is one of the great comfort foods of fall and winter. Whether you go for pumpkins, butternut, acorn, delicata or any of the myriad varieties, Let The Cook Sisters show you new ways to prepare the delicious meat of these meaty vegetables. Sample three new recipes and enjoy a short presentation on the botany of squashes and how to grow them from a Brookside Gardens staffer.
Course # 23603

Fee: $35 FOBG: $31; registration required
Visitors Center Auditorium

 2016 Trees Matter Symposium


Wednesday, October 19, 7:30am-4:00pm
Silver Spring Civic Center, Silver Spring, MD

Take advantage of our early bird registration from July 18th until September 17th only $75 (regular rate $90).

Montgomery Parks, a leader in urban arboriculture and landscaping hosts its 5th Annual Trees Matter Symposium. Learn from respected industry professionals about the most recent and innovative trends in urban and suburban landscaping while connecting with colleagues.

The fifth annual Trees Matter Symposium focuses on the health and welfare of trees in our increasingly developed landscapes. Learn from some of the country’s leading experts about innovative efforts to plant, protect and preserve trees in urban and suburban settings.

Trees provide many benefits: they cleanse and cool our air, stabilize our soils, provide wildlife habitat and beautify our urban and suburban areas. We encourage all arborists, landscape industry and environmental/green industry professionals, engineers, designers, housing developers and interested citizens to take advantage of this opportunity to learn new techniques and concepts on what can be done to ensure the survival of trees in our built environment.

Halloween Trains – Cabin John’s “Eye Spy” Train & Wheaton’s Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel



Weekends in October beginning Saturday, October 8
Fridays in October beginning Friday, October 14
Cabin John Regional Park, Hours: 1p to 6p on Fridays, 11am-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays
Wheaton Regional Park Hours: 6pm-9:30pm

The Cabin John “Eye Spy” Halloween Train was designed to delight younger kids (8 years and under) — it’s all about fun, not fright! While the Wheaton Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel each feature very frightening sights, sounds and creatures and aims to fright! (This event is not suitable for children younger than 8 years old! Costumes highly encouraged at both sites!

Tickets go on sale via on October 1.

More Info

MCT Garden Club October Meeting Topic: Planting for Birds

October 25 @ 7:30 am9:00 pm

Join us for Montgomery County Master Gardener, Stan Fisher’s talk about Planting for Birds.   Learn more about how our yards can be more inviting to these backyard visitors.  As always, refreshments will be provided. The meeting information is below and we look forward to seeing you there!ruby-throated hummingbird

  • Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 7:30 pm
  • Topic: Planting for Birds
  • Speaker: Stan Fisher, Master Gardener
  • Location: Mill Creek Towne Elementary, 17700 Park Mill Dr. ,
    Derwood, MD 20855
  • Hostesses:  Nancy Brady, Claire Peterson



Maryland Emancipation Day Celebrations


Friday, November 4 – Sunday, November 6
Various times and locations

Join us the weekend of November 4 – 6 to celebrate Maryland Emancipation Day at historic sites throughout the county! Hike on the Underground Railroad, tour 1800s log cabins, visit a museum dedicated to the legacy of slavery, enjoy living history demonstrations and eat great food! Park events on Saturday and Sunday are FREE, unless otherwise noted, and open to the public.

More Info