Autumn is traditionally the time to start putting your gardens to bed for the season. Many gardeners actually will do that and then wait until the spring to start up their activities again. Rogue Valley gardeners are a spicy lot and know there is plenty to do through those fall and winter months that will keep them outdoors, enjoying their gardens!
You can layer on the nutrients, your compost is continuing to decompose, there will be all those lovely leaves to add to your compost bins and piles and you can grow cover crops in your now-vacant veggie beds.
There are also plenty of things that you can grow during the fall and winter, both indoors and out.
Maintenance and Clean Up
- Termites begin flying later in September. Make sure your home and yard are 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 or animal products.
- Harvest winter squash when the "ground spot" changes from white to a cream or gold color.
- Mulch carrots, parsnips 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.
- Aerate lawns.
- 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, crocus and other spring-blooming bulbs. Work blood- and bone-meal 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 the spring.
- Plant winter cover of annual rye or winter peas in vegetable garden areas.
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, like beer in a pie pan. Slugs are not picky; they don’t require and Artisan brew. A can of Meisterbrau will do. 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.
- 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.