October Homesteading Chores by USDA Zone

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October Homesteading Chores By USDA Zone

 

October Homesteading Chores

From the blustery northern states to the sunny south, there are always chores to do on a modern homestead. Livestock will need food, water, and care on a daily basis, but many chores will depend on the season and your climate.

These chores are intended as a general guideline. Most homesteaders will need to adjust their activities according to their local climate and conditions. In the extreme northern areas, many homesteading activities may not be possible or advisable.

For information tailored to your area, consult your local  extension office.

 

 

USDA Zone 1

Homesteaders in Zone 1 will have few daylight hours for outdoor activities in autumn. Winter conditions are likely.  Livestock will need a draft free barn with plenty of bedding and extra attention to keep them healthy. The extra care and feed necessary for livestock may negate the benefits of keeping them. Chickens, with their small body size and susceptibility to frostbite, may not survive well in this zone without supplemental heat. Consider keeping a heavy breed of duck instead, as they have more body fat. Homesteading activities may include raising sprouts and microgreens indoors under lights, repairing and maintaining tools, home cooking, crafts, tanning hides, woodworking, butchering extra livestock, trapping, hunting, and splitting firewood.

Average low temperatures:
  • -60 to -55F in zone 1a
  • -55 to -50F in zone 1b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – June 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – July 15th

Barn Chores

  • Keep livestock well fed and protected from wind and cold
  • Check for signs of hypothermia and frostbite on livestock
  • Water should be kept ice free with proper heaters
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed for extra calories
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often to prevent freezing
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Assess feed supplies to ensure they will last through winter
  • Butcher or sell excess livestock

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening catalogs
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • Clean and oil tools to prevent rust over winter
  • Harvest the last frost tolerant kale, collards, and Brussels sprouts if you haven’t already done so
  • Grow sprouts, microgreens, herbs and houseplants under lights indoors
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary
  • Transplant houseplants to larger pots
  • Houseplants do not need fertilizer until daylight hours increase
  • Check vegetables in root cellar and use or compost any with bad spots

 

 

pumpkin

USDA Zone 2

Homesteaders in Zone 2 will have few daylight hours for outdoor activities in late autumn. Winter conditions are likely. Livestock will need a draft free barn with plenty of bedding and extra attention to keep them healthy. The extra care and feed necessary for livestock may negate the benefits of keeping them. Poultry, with their small body size and susceptibility to frostbite, may not survive well in this zone without supplemental heat. Consider keeping a heavy breed of duck instead, as they have more body fat. Homesteading activities may include raising sprouts and microgreens indoors under lights, repairing and maintaining tools, home cooking, crafts, tanning hides, woodworking, butchering extra livestock, trapping, hunting, and splitting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • -50 to -45F in zone 2a
  • -45 to -30F in zone 2b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – May 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – August 15th

Barn Chores

  • Keep livestock well fed and protected from wind and cold
  • Check for signs of hypothermia and frostbite on livestock
  • Water should be kept ice free with proper heaters
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed for extra calories
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often to prevent freezing
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Assess feed supplies to ensure they will last through winter
  • Butcher or sell excess livestock

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening catalogs
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • Harvest the last frost tolerant kale, collards, and Brussels sprouts if you haven’t already done so
  • Protect fruit bearing trees and shrubs from damage from wildlife
  • Clean and oil tools to prevent rust over winter
  • Grow sprouts, microgreens, herbs and houseplants under lights indoors
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary
  • Transplant houseplants to larger pots
  • Houseplants do not need fertilizer until daylight hours increase
  • Check vegetables in root cellar and use or compost any with bad spots

 

 

leaves

USDA Zone 3

Homesteaders in Zone 3 will have fewer daylight hours for outdoor activities in autumn. Winter conditions are possible, especially toward end of month.  Livestock will need a draft free barn with plenty of bedding to keep them healthy. Consider keeping cold tolerant chickens, such as Buckeyes, or a heavy breed of duck, as they are more adapted to cold climates. Homesteading activities may include growing frost tolerant vegetables in cold frames, raising sprouts and microgreens indoors under lights, repairing and maintaining tools, home cooking, crafts, tanning hides, woodworking, butchering extra livestock, fishing, trapping, hunting, and splitting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • -40 to -35F in zone 3a
  • -35 to -30F in zone 3b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – May 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – September 15th

Barn Chores

  • Keep livestock well fed and protected from wind and cold
  • Check for signs of hypothermia and frostbite on livestock
  • Water should be kept ice free with proper heaters
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed in evening to keep them warm
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often to prevent freezing
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Check fence lines for needed repairs and signs of predators
  • Finish purchasing hay and grain for winter if needed, assess feed supplies to ensure they will last through winter
  • Butcher or sell excess livestock

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening catalogs
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • Harvest frost tolerant greens such as kale, Brussels sprouts, and collards and preserve for winter
  • Harvest last of the root crops and store in root cellar, if you haven’t already done so
  • Finish garden clean up
  • Protect fruit bearing trees and shrubs from damage from wildlife
  • Clean and oil tools to prevent rust over winter
  • Grow sprouts, microgreens, herbs and houseplants under lights indoors
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary
  • Transplant houseplants to larger pots
  • Houseplants do not need fertilizer until daylight hours increase
  • Check vegetables in root cellar and use or compost any with bad spots

 

 

 

autumn

 

USDA Zone 4

Homesteaders in Zone 4 will have fewer daylight hours for outdoor activities in autumn. Cold weather is likely.  Small livestock will need a draft free barn with plenty of bedding to keep them warm at night. Allow livestock out on pasture during daytime. Consider keeping cold tolerant chickens, such as Buckeyes, or a heavy breed of duck, as they are more adapted to cold climates. Homesteading activities may include growing cold tolerant vegetables in cold frames, yard and garden cleanup, raising sprouts and microgreens indoors under lights, repairing and maintaining tools, home cooking, crafts, tanning hides, woodworking, butchering extra livestock, fishing, trapping, hunting, and splitting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • -30 to -25F in zone 4a
  • -25 to -20F in zone 4b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – May 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – September 15th

 

Barn Chores

  • Keep livestock well fed and protected from wind and cold
  • Test heaters for water troughs to be sure they are in working condition
  • Water should be kept ice free with proper heaters
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Give poultry corn or sunflower seed in evening to keep them warm
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often to prevent freezing
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Check fence lines for needed repairs and signs of predators
  • Finish purchasing hay and grain for winter if needed, assess feed supplies to ensure they will last through winter
  • Butcher or sell excess livestock

 

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening catalogs
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • Harvest frost tolerant greens such as kale, Brussels sprouts, and collards as needed
  • Tend frost tolerant greens in cold frame to extend growing season
  • Harvest root crops and store in root cellar
  • Clean garden beds and prepare soil for spring
  • Protect fruit bearing trees and shrubs from damage from wildlife
  • Clean and oil tools to prevent rust over winter
  • Plant dormant fruit trees, shrubs, and hardy perennials
  • Plant evergreens and water until ground freezes
  • Grow sprouts, microgreens, herbs and houseplants under lights indoors
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary
  • Transplant houseplants to larger pots
  • Houseplants do not need fertilizer until daylight hours increase
  • Check vegetables in root cellar and use or compost any with bad spots

 

 

 

pumpkins

 

USDA Zone 5

Homesteaders in Zone 5 will have fewer daylight hours for outdoor activities in autumn. Cold weather is likely this month.  Small livestock will need a draft free barn with plenty of bedding to keep them warm at night. Allow livestock out on pasture during daytime. Consider keeping cold tolerant chickens, such as Buckeyes, or a heavy breed of duck, as they are more adapted to cold climates. Homesteading activities may include growing cold hardy vegetables in cold frames, harvesting cold hardy crops, raising sprouts and microgreens indoors under lights, repairing and maintaining tools, home cooking, crafts, tanning hides, woodworking, butchering extra livestock, fishing, trapping, hunting, and splitting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • -20 to -15F in zone 5a
  • -15 to -10F in zone 5b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – April 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – October 15th

Barn Chores

  • Keep livestock well fed and protected from wind and cold at night
  • Test heaters for water troughs to be sure they are in working condition
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Check fence lines for needed repairs and signs of predators
  • Finish putting hay and grain up for winter, assess feed supplies to ensure they will last through winter
  • Tend kale, collards and other cool season crops for livestock fodder
  • Butcher or sell excess livestock

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening catalogs
  • Plan garden beds (be sure to rotate crops)
  • Tend frost tolerant greens such as kale, Brussels sprouts, and collards in garden and harvest as needed
  • Tend frost tolerant greens in cold frame to extend growing season
  • Harvest root crops and store in root cellar
  • Clean garden beds and prepare soil for spring
  • Protect fruit bearing trees and shrubs from damage from wildlife
  • Clean and oil tools to prevent rust over winter
  • Plant dormant fruit trees, shrubs, and hardy perennials
  • Plant evergreens and water until ground freezes
  • Divide and transplant perennials
  • Grow sprouts, microgreens, herbs and houseplants under lights indoors
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary
  • Transplant houseplants to larger pots
  • Houseplants do not need fertilizer until daylight hours increase
  • Finish digging root vegetables and store in root cellar

 

potatoes

 

 

USDA Zone 6

Homesteaders in Zone 6 will have fewer daylight hours for outdoor activities in autumn. Cold weather is possible, especially late in the month.  Small livestock will need a draft free barn when weather is inclement. Allow livestock out on pasture during daytime. Consider keeping cold tolerant chickens, such as Buckeyes, or a heavy breed of duck, as they are more adapted to cold climates. Homesteading activities may include yard and garden clean up, harvesting end of season produce, growing cold hardy vegetables in cold frames, raising sprouts and microgreens indoors under lights, repairing and maintaining tools, home cooking, crafts, tanning hides, woodworking, butchering extra livestock, fishing, hunting, and splitting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • -10 to -5F in zone 6a
  • -55 to 0F in zone 6b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – April 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – October 15th

Barn Chores

  • Protect small livestock from wind and cold
  • Make sure barn is ventilated (but draft free) to prevent disease
  • Test heaters for water troughs to be sure they are in working condition
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Gather eggs often when temperatures drop
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Check fence lines for needed repairs and signs of predators
  • Finish putting up hay and grain for winter, assess feed supplies to ensure they will last through winter
  • Tend kale, collards and other cool season crops for livestock fodder
  • Butcher or sell excess livestock

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening catalogs
  • Tend and harvest cold hardy greens such as kale, Brussels sprouts, and collards
  • Tend and harvest cool season crops such as lettuce, radish, and peas
  • Finish planting cold hardy green in cold frames to extend growing season
  • Finish harvesting warm season produce
  • Begin harvest of root crops and store in root cellar for winter
  • Clean garden beds and prepare soil for spring
  • Protect fruit bearing trees and shrubs from damage from wildlife
  • Clean and oil tools to prevent rust over winter
  • Plant dormant fruit trees, shrubs, and hardy perennials
  • Plant evergreens and water until ground freezes
  • Divide and transplant perennials
  • Grow sprouts, microgreens, herbs and houseplants under lights indoors
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary
  • Transplant houseplants to larger pots
  • Houseplants do not need fertilizer until daylight hours increase

 

veggies

 

 

USDA Zone 7

Homesteaders in Zone 7 will have reduced daylight hours in autumn. Inclement weather conditions are possible late in month.  Small livestock will need a draft free barn at night. Allow livestock out on pasture during day. Homesteading activities may include yard and garden clean up, harvesting and preserving end of season produce, growing cold hardy vegetables in garden and planting in cold frames, raising sprouts and microgreens indoors under lights, repairing and maintaining tools, home cooking, crafts, tanning hides, woodworking, butchering extra livestock, fishing, hunting, and splitting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • 0 to 5F in zone 7a
  • 5 to 10F in zone 7b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – April 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – October 15th

Barn Chores

  • Make sure barn is ventilated
  • Test heaters for water troughs to be sure they are in working condition
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Check fencing for needed repairs and signs of predators
  • Finish putting hay, straw, and grain up for winter, assess feed supplies to ensure they will last through winter
  • Tend kale, collards and other cool season crops for livestock fodder
  • Butcher or sell excess livestock

Garden Chores

  • Order gardening catalogs
  • Tend  cold hardy greens such as kale, Brussels sprouts, and collards
  • Tend and harvest cool season crops such as lettuce, radish, and peas
  • Plant cold hardy greens in cold frames to extend growing season
  • Finish harvesting warm season produce
  • Begin harvest of root crops and store in root cellar for winter
  • Clean garden beds and prepare soil for spring
  • Protect fruit bearing trees and shrubs from damage from wildlife
  • Clean and oil tools to prevent rust over winter
  • Plant fruit trees, shrubs, and hardy perennials
  • Plant evergreens and water until ground freezes
  • Divide and transplant hardy perennials
  • Grow sprouts, microgreens, herbs and houseplants under lights indoors
  • Check houseplants for scale and mites, treat if necessary
  • Transplant houseplants to larger pots
  • Houseplants do not need fertilizer until daylight hours increase

bees on flower

 

 

 

USDA Zone 8

Homesteaders in Zone 8 will have reduced daylight hours in autumn. Allow livestock out on pasture.  Homesteading activities may include sowing cold hardy vegetables, harvesting and preserving warm season vegetables, yard and garden cleanup, raising sprouts and microgreens indoors under lights, repairing and maintaining tools, home cooking, crafts, tanning hides, woodworking, butchering extra livestock, fishing, hunting, and splitting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • 10 to 15F in zone 8a
  • 15 to 20F in zone 8b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – March 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – November 15th

Barn Chores

  • Pasture livestock as desired
  • Make sure barn is ventilated
  • Test heaters for water troughs to be sure they are in working condition
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of artificial light a day in their coop
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Repair fencing and check for signs of predators
  • Put hay, straw, and grain up for winter
  • Tend kale, collards and other cool season crops for livestock fodder
  • Assess livestock for sale or slaughter

Garden Chores

  • Harvest warm season vegetables and preserve for winter
  • Prepare garden beds and direct seed cool season vegetables
  • Use cold frames or floating row covers to protect warm season vegetables
  • Harvest root crops for fresh use
  • Bring cold sensitive container plants indoors
  • Plant dormant fruit trees, shrubs, and hardy perennials
  • Plant evergreens and water until ground freezes
  • Divide and transplant perennials
  • Clean, sharpen, and oil gardening tools

 

dahlia

 

USDA Zone 9

Homesteaders in zone 9 will have reduced daylight hours. Cold weather is possible.  Planting cool weather vegetables will provide greens over winter. Homesteading activities may include gardening, yard and garden clean up, harvesting and preserving produce, planting cool season crops, foraging for wild foods, fishing, hunting, and cutting firewood.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • 20 to 25F in zone 9a
  • 25 to 30F in zone 9b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – February 15th
  • Average first frost in fall – December 15th

Barn Chores

  • Pasture livestock
  • Make sure barn is ventilated
  • Test heaters for water troughs to be sure they are in working condition
  • Poultry may lay eggs with 14 hours of light a day
  • Gather eggs often if temperatures drop
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Repair fencing and check for signs of predators
  • Put up hay, straw, and grain for season
  • Tend kale, collards and other cool season crops for livestock fodder
  • Assess livestock for sale or slaughter

Garden Chores

  • Prepare garden beds and direct seed successive crops of cool season veggies
  • Protect warm season vegetables when temperatures drop
  • Harvest and preserve vegetables
  • Plant non-citrus fruit trees, shrubs, and hardy perennials
  • Divide perennials
  • Water citrus trees during dry spells, protect from frost
  • Clean, sharpen, and oil gardening tools
  • Bring tender potted plants indoors when temps drop

 

 

succulents

 

USDA Zone 10

Homesteaders living in zone 10 may grow cool season crops all winter for fresh greens. Warm season crops continue to produce flowers and fruits for harvest. Some citrus fruits may be ready to harvest. Watch for signs of pests and disease on crops. Homesteading activities may include gardening, harvesting and preserving produce, yard and garden clean up, foraging for wild foods, fishing, hunting, gardening, yard and garden clean up.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • 30 to 35F in zone 10a
  • 35 to 40F in zone 10b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • Average last frost in spring – January 31st
  • Average first frost in fall – December 15th

Barn Chores

  • Pasture livestock
  • Make sure barn is ventilated
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Repair fencing and check for signs of predators
  • Grow kale, collards and other cool season crops for livestock fodder

Garden Chores

  • Prepare garden beds and plant successive crops of cool season vegetables
  • Harvest warm season crops
  • Clean up beds as warm season crops finish for season
  • Water citrus during drought
  • Harvest citrus fruits when ripe
  • Plant cover crops
  • Clean and sharpen gardening tools
  • Grow herbs and houseplants on sunny decks
  • Cut back on fertilizer for houseplants

avocado tree

 

 

USDA Zone 11

Homesteaders in zone 11 are able to grow heat loving tropical plants. Cool season crops may be harvested and direct seeded in areas that remain cool, such as in shady beds. Some citrus fruits may be ready to harvest. Plant trees, shrubs and perennials, divide plants and keep watered. Homesteading activities may include gardening, harvesting and preserving produce, yard and garden clean up, foraging for wild foods, hunting, and fishing.

Average Low Temperatures:
  • 40 to 45F for zone 11a
  • 45 to 50F for zone 11b
Average Frost Free Dates:
  • No frost

 

Barn Chores

  • Pasture livestock
  • Incubate eggs for next flock of poultry
  • Make sure barn is ventilated
  • Keep bedding clean and dry
  • Repair fencing and check for signs of predators
  • Plant cover crops
  • Grow kale, collards and other cool season crops for livestock fodder
  • Assess livestock for sale or slaughter

Garden Chores

  • Prepare garden beds and plant successive crops of cool season vegetables
  • Tend and harvest warm season vegetables
  • Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials
  • Divide and transplant perennials
  • Water citrus fruit during drought
  • Weed garden beds
  • Grow herbs and houseplants on patios
  • Harvest citrus fruits, avocados, and possibly papayas

 

Notes: Within each USDA Zone, there are many different micro-climates and variations in frost free dates, average low temperatures, and average high temperatures. Visit the Interactive USDA Zone Map for the most accurate information about your local conditions.
The information listed here is intended to give a general guideline to appropriate homesteading activities for your area. Each individual using these guidelines must determine if the information is accurate for their conditions.

 

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