Planning for the October Garden

I much prefer a garden in the front yard as it lends itself to meeting and greeting neighbors, supervising all ten neighborhood kids on bikes and scooters, and planting a beautiful garden to share in lieu of a lawn. In our former house in Golden, I turned the entire front yard into an edible food forest and hope to do the same here in Durango.

Our former front yard garden/food forest in Golden, CO and our soon to be front yard garden/food forest in Durango, CO.


While we have a fence in the back yard, four feet does not a deer-proof fence make and the deer will continue to visit us in both the front and the backyard regardless. I will spend this month considering ways to protect the plants they don't eat and building beds that I can someday protect. This will include planting spring bulbs along with garlic bulbs as an experiment to see how well this works as a deterrent. It worked against rabbits in my last garden but it will be several years until I learn what works for these very bold bucks (I mean seriously, he was that close to me in the first photo below, no telephoto!).


      Backyard or front yard...your choice at the deer buffet...but they are pretty cool.
I am planting saffron crocus in the beds closest to the house in the hopes that in zone 6 which is a little chilly for this variety that there will be enough solar gain in this south facing bed to keep them toasty enough until spring. Around the border of this bed I planted Nookta Rose soft neck garlic that I purchased from the local farmers market in hopes of discouraging the deer.
Spacing out the colors of Gipsy Queen Hyacinth, Sun Catcher Tulips, Drumline Tulips, Beauty of Spring Tulips, and Red Princess Tulips interspersed with Red Toch soft neck garlic and Chesnok Red hard neck Garlic from the local Mocking Crow Farm.


I am also evaluating the plants and trees we have and making a maintenance plan. We have some beautiful aspen in the front yard and I recently had a tree service come and remove one that had a fungus, exposed heartwood, and a dangerous lean toward the house. Below the aspen are many river rocks with weed barrier beneath. These are preventing any succession aspen from coming up to take the place of the more mature aspen.  The rocks have to be moved and I think I have come up with a creative solution to use them to surround the new beds near the house and entryway.


The aspen bed covered in rock and weed fabric has got to go, but the rock will get a new life as borders in new garden beds.


There are sea of iris and perennials that need pruning and dividing before next season.  Not knowing which iris are which, I am digging up a few from different locations and adding them together in the same bed in hopes there will be a variety of colorful booms in the spring. I also hope to add some old perennial seeds to these same beds to see if, once they overwinter in the ground, they will come up in the spring. Here's to lovely spring surprises!


Relocating volunteer lavender, splitting mystery iris, cutting back that old prolific cat mint, adding compost, and building rock borders are all part of my October gardening plan.

Setting up for a new river rock pathway.

Waiting for the sand to settle in under and between the rocks, but I may have to add a little thin-set mortar so the rounded stones don't continue shifting under our feet.

Lastly, we have many Bartlet pears and red delicious apples still in the trees that are getting better with each cold fall night. My daughters designed a neighborhood fall festival to take care of these. More updates on this in my next post.


Big Chores on My List for October:

  • Harvesting Apples and Pears (See our Fall Fest Post)
  • Moving Rocks
  • Cleaning Existing Beds
  • Constructing New Beds
  • Adding Compost
  • Adding Mulch
  • Moving More Rocks
  • Planting Garlic
  • Planting Bulbs
  • Splitting Iris
  • Splitting Yarrow
  • Pruning Lilacs and Spirea
  • Moving More Rocks
  • Digging up Siberian Elm Seedlings



  • You have been busy since our visit in August. Looking good! Love the calendar. We might have to adjust the timing somewhat to match our zone but the reminders are great. Thanks for putting in the work on this! Love you!


    Don Thompson
  • Sarah, this is all so lovely and I wish you great success with your exciting plans! Elaine Corder

    Elaine Corder
  • Love this!

    I am so happy to see your adventures.
    I miss your front yard garden here, mostly just walking over to talk.

    Keep on :)

    Krystal D Torri

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