Bay Area gardening: October is the time for clean-up

October is a time of transition, moving from the frenetic days of spring and summer to the slower pace of autumn. In the garden, there are important chores to undertake.

Harvest the last of your tomatoes, basil, sage, oregano, parsley, zucchini, winter squash, peppers, late season apples, late season pears, and clean out the beds.
Add spent plants to your compost pile or cut them up and leave them in the beds to compost in place. Lightly turn the soil and cover the beds with a layer of fertilizer and top with a thick layer of compost.
It’s time to put in your cool weather crops or cover crops. Plant transplants of cabbage, chard, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and garlic cloves, then water well and cover with mulch.
The days are getting cooler and shorter, which can help heat-stressed plants thrive, but you need to pay attention to your irrigation schedule. Your gardens and lawns don’t need as much water as they did in the summer. Start tapering off and shut off the water by November.
If it’s not raining, water trees and shrubs deeply at least once this month. If the rains return, let Mother Nature take care of them.
Wet weather can cause the snail and slug populations to increase, so keep an eye out for damage.
Fire is especially a concern at this time of the year. Prune low-lying branches of shrubs, check eaves for leaf build-up, and clear flammable plants away from your home.
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Collect pine needles and shred them to use as mulch under acid-loving plants.
Use fallen oak and redwood leaves as mulch under the trees, allowing them to compost in place. If you live in a high fire zone, you’ll need to shred them.
In your ornamental beds, remove all dropped and diseased leaves from roses, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas.

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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