Pacific Northwest

October, 2006
Regional Report

Sweeten Root Crops

Most fruits and vegetables should be harvested by now, but root crops, such as onions, carrots, beets, turnips, and leeks, have a better flavor after a few frosts. They can be left in the ground until midwinter.

Don't Worry About Needle Drop

Everyone expects deciduous trees to lose their leaves in the fall, but actually evergreens do some shedding as well. Cedar trees drop older foliage (called flagging); spruces, pines, and hemlocks drop older needles. These events shouldn't cause concern. Healthy plants know when enough is enough and stop dropping needles at the appropriate time.

Plant Garlic

Garlic requires a cold treatment of 40 degrees F for two months to induce bulbing, so the cloves should be planted by mid-November. This will give them time to develop roots but not to emerge from the soil. Plant in a prepared bed, spacing cloves 4 to 6 inches apart and 3 to 4 inches deep, and mulch with compost or other organic matter to prevent winter injury.

Compost Fallen Fruit

If you have fruit trees or ornamental trees that bear fruit, pick up the fallen fruit. If it's not diseased or infested with insects, compost it. Fruit left on the ground makes a nice environment for insects and diseases to overwinter and reinfect trees next year.

Prepare Beds for Spring Planting

When your vegetables have ceased producing, remove the plants and any weeds and debris. If the plants are healthy, add them to the compost pile. Spread compost and/or lime over the soil and then rototill and rake smooth. Next spring add fertilizer, and come planting time you'll be ready to start your garden.

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