Come October most gardeners are beat. They're tired of weeding and watering and mulching and planting. The garden probably looks as bedraggled as the gardener feels. It's time to put the garden to bed for the winter, at least most of it.
Pull out all the old squash vines, tomato vines and pepper plants, whatever you have in the garden that's past its prime. It's best to toss the debris into the green waste barrel or make a burn pile out of it. You don't want to transfer any disease organisms or overwintering insects from this year's garden to next year's.
Pull all weeds.
Add compost to all garden beds.
If you want to plant a cover crop, now is the time.
While I like to leave most of the garden beds to rest, I still want to be able to harvest something during the winter. You can plant garlic, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, as well as many types of greens, peas and more.
Cut away dead canna foliage. If they are crowded lack of blooms is one sure sign now is the time to dig them up and divide them.
Many perennials die back gracefully and beautifully. As long as the plant looks good, leave the dying foliage. When it gets messy or ugly, cut it to the ground.
Make a bouquet of colorful leaves.
Before the frost takes you by surprise, move tender succulents and cactus to a sheltered location.
Bring houseplants that have spent the summer outside back into the house. Houseplants that have been outside should be checked carefully for aphids or whiteflies before bringing them indoors.
Now is the time to reseed lawns that need sprucing up.
Plant garlic October through December and harvest it next June.
Continue to clean up dead and fallen debris in the garden spent flowers, dying foliage and leaves so harmful insects don't have a cozy home for winter.
Keep pulling weeds. Bag and discard the debris rather than composting it since composting doesn't always kill weed seeds or diseases producing organisms.
Keeping plants watered and fed will encourage many perennials to bloom again.
Pot up herbs like thyme and parsley to bring indoors.
The best times to choose shrubs and trees for fall color is when they are in their glory. This way you'll be sure to get the colors you want.