October Garden Tips

Autumn-Leaf-Pile

Plant native trees, shrubs, and perennials. Fall is the time to plant natives. The cooler weather lets plants transition with less stress, rain is more plentiful, and the warm soil encourages root growth for a head-start in Spring. Also, many of the native plant nurseries in our area have sales at this time of year!

Clean up foliage but put diseased leaves in the green bin. Your home compost pile may not get warm enough to kill harmful diseases at this time of year.

Divide your spring-blooming plants like irises, as well as ornamental grasses. Later bloomers that can also be divided include black-eyed Susans, geraniums, coneflowers, and yarrows.

Leave the dead stalks of purple coneflower, black-eyed Susans, sunflowers, and other plants whose seeds or berries feeds birds through the winter.

Create habitats for beneficial insects. In our area, we have to be careful not to let brush piles accumulate because of fire danger. Creating a habitat for beneficial insects will give helpers like spiders, solitary bees, and beneficial beetles like ladybugs a home for the winter.
Find instructions here:
http://permaculturenews.org/2013/10/08/building-insect-hotel/

Put your beds to bed! Any vegetable beds or unused plots can be protected over winter with mulching to help prevent erosion and weed growth, or with a living cover crop like winter peas (Pisum sativum), oats, vetch, and even fava beans. These plants improve soil biology, but should be mown or cut and either mulched in or added to your compost before they go to seed. Put your asparagus to bed with a layer of compost and a layer of straw or leaves to get them ready for a strong start in the spring.