Pacific Northwest

October, 2009
Regional Report

Prepare Beds for Spring

When your vegetables have stopped 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.

Appreciate Fall Foliage

Everyone expects deciduous trees to lose their leaves in the fall, but it may be surprising to learn that 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.

Compost Plant Debris

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. Leaving fruit on the ground makes a nice environment for insects and diseases to overwinter and reinfect trees next year.

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 mid-winter.

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" apart and 3" to 4" deep, then mulch with compost or other organic matter to prevent winter injury.

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