Urban Almanac

Almanac: October 2018 A compendium of random wisdom for the natural world and beyond

By Staff

October 1 Sunrise: 7:24 am. Sunset: 7:09 pm. Avg. high 73°. Avg. low 49°. Day length is rapidly decreasing—by 77 minutes from today till October 31. That’s about two and a half minutes each day.

October 2 If the cooler weather has put you in a planting mood, you’re in luck: It’s time for trees, roses, spring bulbs, lilies, garlic, rhubarb and cover crops. Don’t fertilize, but do use root starter.


October 3 There’s big nourishment in those jack o’lantern seeds. Toss with butter and toast in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Pumpkin seeds are a natural vermifuge, a worm-killer, just in case you’ve got any tapeworms, flat worms or pin worms going on.

October 4 Watch out for shiny red leaves while hiking. Urushiol, the oily allergen found in poison ivy, can remain active on shoes and clothing for six months. Dogs can also carry it on their fur, so bathe or wipe down your buddy (and toss the cloth) if s/he has strayed into a patch.


October 5  The past season saw an excess of grasshoppers and aphids in many SLC gardens. Fortunately, at least according to the Old Farmer’s 2019 Almanac, winter in the desert Southwest will be colder than normal, with above-average precipitation,. We hope that means the “old” normal.

October 6 Your body is made of 50-65% water. Newborn babies are more like 78% water.

October 7 LED lightbulbs are everywhere now, but the technology dates back to 1927 when Russian inventor Oleg Losev wrote about creating light-emitting diodes. No practical use was found for several decades, however.

October 8 NEW MOON @ 9:46pm. “Synodical” is the length of time it takes the moon to circle Earth, using the sun as the reference point (that is, the time that elapses from new moon to new moon): 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 2.7 seconds.  The synodic month is the basis of many calendars today.

October 9 A reported 2,900 home clothes dryer fires happen in the U.S. each year, most in the fall and winter. Clean your lint filter after each load. Now’s a good time to disconnect the duct from the dryer and vacuum it.

October 10 Pot up geraniums and bring them inside, They will thank you with another season of gorgeous blooms when you crave color most.

October 11 Transplant perennials and trees, trim blackberry and raspberry canes and cut back vines.

October 12 Frost predicted? Here’s how to extend the garden season a few weeks: Cover tender plants with lightweight blankets, sheets, newspapers, buckets or floating row covers. Uncover them after the temperature rises above 32º F.


October 13 The highest density of peregrine falcons anywhere in the world is New York City; the second highest is London. This year, after a three-year hiatus, a pair of peregrines returned to downtown SLC. They nested on the roof of the Utah One Center in a box provided by the Division of Wildlife Resources.

October 14 Indian summer, a  period of warm, sunny weather following a cold spell, often occurs around now. The warm weather may last from a few days to over a week and may repeat a few times before winter sets in.

October 15 Salt Lake City’s farmers markets are wrapping up for the season. Stock up on squash, apples, root crops and cool and cool-weather greens.

October 16 An orderly virtual desktop just may be a sign of an orderly mind. Clean your virtual desktop today by tossing, filing and employing external storage devices.

October 17 Conifers, like deciduous trees, shed in the fall. Because the oldest needles are shed, the inner areas of the tree closer to the truck become less dense than the outer areas. Pine trees usually shed three-year-old needles; spruce and fir shed four- to five-year-old needles.

October 18 Today is Conflict Resolution Day, which celebrates the peacemakers among us and raises awareness about that subject. Want to become a mediator? Check out utahdisputeresolution.org

October 19 Evaluate your life. What’s working? What’s not? What’s the point? Make a commitment to accept and celebrate what you see or change it.

October 20 Mushrooms are more closely related to humans than to plants. That’s why fungal infections are so hard to fight without harming ourselves.

October 21 Americans predominantly use the word “fall” to describe this season. In Great Britain, “autumn” is the word.

October 22 Have you thought of growing some protein? The shrub-shaped filbert (aka hazelnut) is the easiest. Almond and pecan trees grow here, too, but produce less dependably.

October 23 Time to check the weather stripping around the doors and windows. Sealing gaps can reduce your energy bill 10-15%.

October 24 FULL MOON @ 10:45am. October’s Moon rises just after sunset and sets around sunrise, so this is the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long.

October 25 Got more produce than you can eat right now? Ferment it. Easy, and delicious! See last year’s September CATALYST (available online) for instructions

October 26 Howl at The Moon Night. And it’s Friday. A great excuse for a party!

October 27 Pull up spent annuals and cut back perennials. Keep digging up bindweed and other perennial weeds. If you have a serious bindweed problem, plant cover crops to choke it out.

October 28 Napoleon loved chocolate. He demanded that wine and chocolate be made available to him and his senior advisers even during intense military campaigns.

October 29 It’s uncomfortable for cats to eat or drink from a narrow bowl that pushes their ultra-sensitive whiskers. There’s even a name for it: whisker stress.

October 30 Time to blow out and shut off the sprinkler system and drain and store hoses.

October 31 In the ancient Roman calendar, October was the name of the eighth month of the year. Its name comes from octo, the Latin word for “eight.” When the Romans converted to a 12-month calendar, they tried to rename this month after various Roman emperors, but the name October stuck.

This article was originally published on September 30, 2018.