Pacific Northwest

October, 2004
Regional Report

Give Garden Debris the Toss

A clean garden in the fall will not harbor insect eggs or disease spores to ruin next year's plantings. Cut the dead leaves and stems from perennials, and remove fallen debris from the rose garden. Put all rose leaves and twigs, as well as any diseased vegetable and flower debris, in the trash, not the compost pile.

Water Plants Under Eaves in Winter

While most garden hoses should be drained and stored for winter, I like to keep at least one rolled-up hose available for winter watering. Plants under eaves near the foundation of the house need water all winter, and these protected spots can get very dry.

Keep Leaves Raked

It's much easier to rake up small piles of leaves every few days than to deal with a massive accumulation after all the leaves have fallen. Regularly raking leaves from the lawn will provide good exposure to sunshine, allowing turfgrass a chance to grow and store food energy during autumn. If too many leaves are left on the lawn, they can smother the grass, leaving dead patches next spring.

Clean Gutters

Leaves and evergreen needles can block gutters and cause pipes to clog and flood during heavy rains and snowmelts. Climb a ladder and give the gutters a cleansing swipe, removing debris from spout holes. Poke around the gutters to make sure water can run through them easily.

Hang Bird Feeders

As the weather gets colder, our local birds appreciate a healthy snack. Pine siskins like to eat nuts, rolled oats, and a variety of seeds, especially thistle. Goldfinches appreciate thistle and sunflower seeds. Juncos are the janitors of the feeder set; they'll clean up all the seeds under the feeders that other birds miss. Be sure to clean the bird feeders between fillings to keep your feathered friends healthy.

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