Many people see the fall and winter as a time to close down the garden and wait until the spring to start up gardening activities again. We Rogue Valley gardeners, however, know there are plenty of things to be done through the fall and winter months that will allow us to continue enjoying the pleasures of gardening.
Fall is an important period in the gardening season, more so than you’d think. While fall is approaching and later, when winter is in full swing, compost is continuing to decompose and get ready for use for the spring. Additionally, fall and winter are the perfect time to grow cover crops which will help improve the soil for the next season.
There are also plenty of other things that you can grow during the fall and winter, both indoors and out. You can strategically plan a winter garden so that you can enjoy color and attractive plants all year long.
Maintenance and Clean Up
Dampwood termites begin flying late this month. Make sure your home is free of wet wood or places where wood and soil are in contact.
Recycle disease-free plant material and kitchen vegetable and fruit scraps into compost. Don’t compost diseased plants.
Harvest winter squash when the “ground spot” changes from white to a cream or gold color.
Pick and store winter squash. Later in the month, mulch carrot, parsnip and beets for winter harvesting.
Protect tomatoes and/or pick green tomatoes and ripen indoors if frost threatens.
Stake tall flowers to keep them from blowing over in fall winds.
Dig, clean, and store tuberous begonias if frost threatens.
Harvest potatoes when the tops die down. Store them in a dark location.
Optimal time for establishing a new lawn is August through Mid-September.
Stop irrigating your lawn after Labor Day to suppress European crane fly populations.
Divide peonies and iris.
Plant or transplant woody ornamentals and mature herbaceous perennials. Fall planting of trees, shrubs and perennials can encourage healthy root growth over the winter.
Plant daffodils, tulips, and crocus for spring bloom. Work calcium and phosphorus into the soil below the bulbs at planting time. Remember when purchasing bulbs, the size of the bulb is directly correlated to the size of the flower yet to come in spring.
Plant winter cover of annual rye or winter peas in vegetable garden.
Pest Monitoring and Management
Apply parasitic nematodes to moist soil beneath rhododendrons and azaleas that show root weevil damage (notched leaves).
Control slugs as necessary. Least toxic management options for slugs include barriers and traps. Baits are also available for slug control; iron phosphate baits are safe to use around pets. Read and follow all label directions prior to using baits, or any other chemical control.
Monitor trailing berries for leaf and cane spot. Treat if necessary.
As necessary, apply copper spray for peach and cherry trees.
Spray for juniper twig blight, as necessary, after pruning away dead and infected twigs.
Spray susceptible varieties of potatoes and tomatoes for early and late blight.
Identify problems before acting, and opt for the least toxic approach. Physical and biological controls are the cornerstones of a sustainable pest management program. Use chemical controls only after you identify a pest problem and have determined that no natural or biological control will alleviate the problem. Carefully read the pesticide label. Least-toxic choices are insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, botanical insecticides and organic and synthetic pesticides.
Houseplants and Indoor Gardening
Clean houseplants, check for insects, and repot and fertilize if necessary; then bring them indoors.