You’ve picked the last of the summer squash, the leaves are changing colors, the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air: fall has officially arrived. But that doesn’t mean it’s time for you to call it quits on your garden. Northern California is one of those garden meccas where the winters are generally mild enough to keep your garden growing.
October is all about out with the old and in with the new! This is the perfect time to clean up any debris and dead plants. Get spring flower bulbs, shrubs, and trees in the ground to give them time to establish themselves before being hit by the summer heat.
As your summer veggies start petering out, replace them with peas, spinach, and broccoli—plants that can’t stand the summer heat. Ensure that your garden has a good drainage system, so your plants aren’t overwhelmed with winter rains and standing water. And don’t be afraid to plant your winter crops closer together to avoid too much soil erosion.
The winter months can be much more fruitful than just maintaining your garden and waiting for warmer days. You don’t have to water frequently (if ever), weeds grow slowly (if at all), bugs and pests are few and far between, and you don’t have to stop serving up garden fresh veggies! Work your way through our October Agenda and set your garden up to finish the year strong.
A weed-free garden that’s good for the environment
Gardeners have always dreamed about a weed-free garden. For decades, the solution has been to turn to chemical weed killers, but more and more gardeners are taking notice of the harsh side effects. Whether it’s your own flowers that are collateral damage or you’ve noticed a sharp decrease in bee and other pollinator activity in your garden, it’s time to put down the chemical weedkiller and opt for a more environmentally friendly solution.
Organic weed control is an approach that aims at preventing weeds before they start. A healthy lawn can easily out compete weeds, choking them off before they have a chance to get their roots in. A dry or dying lawn leaves room for weeds to grow and the presence of certain types of weeds can indicate a soil deficiency or other underlying problems. Once addressed, you’ll have a better looking, healthier lawn where there’s less room for weeds to grow. Organic weed killers are more readily available than ever and will do away with straggling weeds.
In the flower garden, laying weed cloth and bark helps prevent weeds from taking hold in the first place. Those that do pop up have nothing to grow in but the bark and are easy to pluck.