Wednesday, 12 October 2016

October Garden Ramblings

Well, here we are, well on our way into the month of October. So many garden chores this month! Busy, busy times!

Do a thorough garden clean up 

Hubby and I have been plugging away at garden clean up and winterising for several weeks. Greenhouse clean up, garden clean up, soil amending, emptying pots and baskets, weeding, raking ... 

Beds cleaned out, 

So, where to start? I always start with the food garden, of course ; )

In the potager... 

My main goal in the garden beds is pest control. A really thorough garden clean up helps to minimise the over-wintering bugs, and provides less hiding places for them to lay their eggs.

- Harvest the last of your peppers, squash, sunflowers, etc.. Remove all summer annuals to the compost bin.

- Fill your compost bin with layers of browns and greens for faster cooking compost. Take all diseased items and weeds to the dump. Some municipalities have free drop off bins for yard waste or even curb side pick-up, check to see what your city provides.

- Clean out your beds really well. Remove all yellow and fallen leaves from the beds, as they present sneaky hiding places.

- Yellowing leaves on your kale? Remove them. Beets leaves with leaf miner trails? Remove those, too. Leave the plants, just get rid of the 'bad' leaves.

- If your remaining veggies are supposed to fruit in fall, like Brussels sprouts or late broccoli, but nothing is happening, get rid of them now. They will not have time to make sprouts/heads before winter strikes, but will harbour aphids and other pests.

- Clean up really well around your strawberries and fruiting shrubs. This is where stink bugs like to leave their eggs. Remove all brown or yellow leaves, dry mummified berries, and dead bits, leaving only the healthy green foliage on your rhubarb and strawberries.

- When clean up is all done, top dress your beds with 1 to 3 inches of manure or compost, plus any amendments (bonemeal, bloodmeal, rock phosphates... ) that you may need. I always do this in fall so that I have no wait time in spring, can get right down to planting.

- Do not dig in, do not blend or mix. Just layer on top of the beds for the winter rains and the earthworms to disperse. The less you disturb your soil, the less weeds you will have in spring. Roto-tilling destroys soil texture, plus earthworms, beneficial nematodes, microbes, fungi, please never do it!

I clean out everything except my fall and winter veggies...
 (kale, leeks, broccoli, carrots, beets, celery, kohlrabi, and turnips). 
The cabbages, onions, and spuds are in the garage.

 The newly seeded fall and winter garden bed, the hoops will soon be covered with Reemay fabric

Sowing and Planting? 

What can you sow this month from seed successfully? Surprisingly, quite a few things will germinate and thrive, especially if you offer them cover from the winter frosts. 
Grow them in your greenhouse, heated or not, or cover the frames with plastic or white frost blanket. 

- Broad beans (Fava's)
- Greens of all kind! Lettuce, mesclun, mustard, arugula, Oriental greens, etc... 
- Onions/scallions/shallots
- Radishes
- Turnips
- Try some spinach and collards, too. Nothing to lose and much to gain ; )   

Western Rose, the prettiest garlic I have ever seen

What else to do this month? 

- Plant garlic. I will post the how-to's again this year, but if you cannot wait, check back to previous years for instructions.

- Weed! All your pathways, your gardens, everywhere. It takes time and perseverance! We weeded like mad all spring and summer to prepare for the wedding, everything looked amazing... as soon as the fall rains came, out popped a zillion more weeds. Keep weeding!

- Put away hoses and blow out your watering systems. I put away the weeping hoses each winter and haul them out again in spring.

- Cut back spent perennials. Leave the ones with seed heads, like coneflowers, for the birds.

- Do not prune your roses yet, is too early. Let them make hips and shut down for winter and trim them back later.

Clean out your greenhouse for the winter. Take everything out, power wash all the surfaces, nooks and crannies, to get rid of pests and fungal issues. The walls and roof will have accumulated dust and dirt during the summer, wash it down to allow in more sunlight this winter.

Put out new yellow sticky strips so that you can catch pest problems right away.

I prune most of my geraniums and tender tender plants in fall,
before bringing them into the greenhouse. 

Bring tender perennials and hardy annuals into the greenhouse/sunroom for the winter months. Make sure to clean up the plants so that you do not bring in pests that will thrive and multiply, making your spring seeding and growing a real disaster!

Collect leaves, shred and store in a pile, or in bags, to create leaf mould, the best garden gold for your garden!

Plant spring blooming bulbs. 

Rejuvenate your planters for fall!

Happy fall clean up! 

Moving Thyme

Sadly, the Nitty Gritty Potager blog is no more... but the good news is that I can now be found at my new blog called the Olde Thyme F...