- We nurture and protect the soil.
- We use compost and organic amendments to feed the soil organisms that, in turn, feed our plants. If we make our own compost, we are recycling our organic matter
- We use mulch to cover our soil, prevent weeds and conserve water.
- We practice minimum soil disturbance
- We plant the right plant, in the right place, at the right time.
- We include flowers that benefit the vegetables and that attract good insects.
- We avoid using synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
- Oct 7, Windsor Library, "Are We Having Fungi Yet?"
- Nov 18, Rohnert Park Library, "Soil: Don't Step on It, It's Alive"
In the Garden
FREE SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 WORKSHOP, "GETTING YOUR FOOD GARDEN READY FOR WINTER"
Join the Food Gardening Specialists. Learn about the steps you can take from planting a cover crop to mulching to other actions so that your garden’s soil will be in good shape for spring planting. Wear weather-appropriate clothing and bring your garden gloves because we will be in the garden practicing the various methods discussed. Spanish translation will be available. No RSVP is required.
- Asian Greens
- Brussels Sprouts
- Bulbing Onions
- Collard Greens
- Endive and It's Chicory Relatives
- Fava Beans
- Lettuce (Cold Frame)
- Rapini/Broccoli Raab
- Salad Greens
- Scallions (Green Bunching Onions)
- Swiss Chard
- Winter Herbs
Food Garden Tips
October Food Garden Tasks and Tips
For what to grow this month, click here.
- If a fall/winter garden was not (is not to be) planted, plant a cover crop, such as fava beans, to add nitrogen and organic matter, to improve the soil tilth and water penetration and to help mitigate disease issues related to crop rotation. For maximum nitrogen benefit, cut down the crop next year just as flower buds begin to form, leaving the roots in the soil. The tops can be simply chopped and dropped or put in your compost pile.
- Mulch perennial crops and any bare soil. Option: rake leaves into a pile, run the mower over them and use this as organic mulch; 3-4 inches are recommended to retain soil moisture even in the cooler fall when drought conditions persist. Mulch also reduces splash and, therefore, reduces the number of disease spores that might move from the soil to your fall and winter crops.
- If tomatoes are still in the garden, cut off their water to help ripen what is left. Pruning the growing tips of indeterminate tomatoes will encourage the plants to direct all of the sugars and energy to ripening the existing fruit before the first frost (on AVERAGE, mid-Nov to early-Dec in Sonoma County).
- As veggies fade, pull them out and toss any plants showing signs of pests or disease. The rest can go into the compost.
- Strawberries can be planted October through spring. In the spring, pay attention to day-neutral (“everbearers”) vs. short-day types. If short-day types are planted in spring (when days are lengthening), they will not flower/fruit adequately. Trim off all runners as they develop because they weaken the mother plant and reduce fruit size. See University of California guidance.
- Lightly fertilize cool-season vegetables in a fall/winter garden if compost or a slow-release fertilizer was not added earlier. Do not add nitrogen to root crops. Citrus: apply 1/2 lb of 5-2-1 mixed with 1 tablespoon of Epson salts and water well.
- Raspberries: foliar feed with liquid fish two times this month.
- Blackberries: apply 2 oz per plant of 5-10-10 and water well.
- Fruit Trees: apply 7-5-7 per bag instructions around drip line of trees and work in, being careful not to disturb roots.
- Turn off your automatic watering systems when rainy weather arrives. But, if a dry spell follows the first rain storm, don’t forget to turn it back on.
- Last winter was wet, but drought conditions could return at any time. A drip system is the most efficient way to deliver water to your veggie garden. If you didn’t install one this spring/summer, now is a good time to rectify this.
- Clean, sharpen and oil garden tools and store them in a dry space. Steel wool will remove rust build up (wear gloves); some gardeners use wax paper throughout the year to wipe cleaned and dried blades after use to prevent/reduce rust. Drain garden hoses and hang them in the garage during the rainy season.
- Know what pest you are fighting so that you can select effective pest management strategies. Check out University of California’s natural enemies gallery.
- Inspect crops regularly for early problem diagnosis and resolution. Refer to University of California’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) site. If you find snails and slugs in your garden, build a trap using a 12- by 15-inch board raised off the ground by 1-inch runners. As they collect under the board, scrape them off and destroy daily. Sanitation is an important aspect of disease prevention. Clear garden debris and, then, clean and disinfect tools in a 10-percent bleach solution for one or two minutes.