Pacific Northwest

October, 2005
Regional Report

Drain Hoses and Drip Systems

By this time of year natural rainfall is usually enough to keep the garden happy. Drain garden hoses and bring them into a garage or shed to protect them from damaging winter weather. If you have drip irrigation tubes, blow the water out of the tubes now and bring them into a sheltered area. Drain water from sprinkler systems, too. Any water left in the pipes over winter can freeze and rupture them.

Organize Your Tools

Fall is a good time to clean and organize your garden storage area. Take everything out, oil wooden handles, sharpen blades, clean hand tools, and wash pots. Then store everything neatly with summer tools to the back and early-spring potting supplies up front. Life will be a lot easier without the frustration of searching for tools next spring.

Add Lime

Soils in the Northwest tend to be acidic, so periodic liming is needed to keep the pH at the optimum 6 to 6.5 range for most plants. Depending on the results of a soil test, spread lime with a lawn spreader, using the powdered or pelleted forms. If your soil needs magnesium as well as lime, use dolomitic limestone.

Prune Raspberries

After everbearing raspberries have finished fruiting, remove old canes at ground level, or cut off the bearing tips of this summer's growth. The bottoms of these canes will bear the spring crop of raspberries, and new fall-bearing canes will come from the crown. Remove plant debris including old canes and fallen leaves to prevent disease organisms from overwintering.

Propagate African Violets

African violets make great houseplants and will flower year-round if given supplemental light. To propagate new plants, take a leaf cutting, dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder, and stick the cutting in a pot filled with vermiculite or sand. Cover the pot with a perforated, clear plastic bag and keep the soil moist. In a few weeks you'll have new plants.

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