October is a favorite fall veggie gardening month!
Shape your land! Put in bioswales, drainage, Hugelkultur, terraces, whatever your land calls for or is capable of. Remember, Slow, Spread, Sink your water. Keep that precious resource on your property to water your trees, your garden, improve our water table. If you do raised beds, make your soil Rosina’s way!
See September’s Newsletter for great tips on how to organize for successful planting!
Install gopher barrier perimeters or make baskets!
Prep your Soil for fat growth!
- Clear away weeds, debris, spent or unhealthy plants, habitat for overwintering pests/diseases.
- Most winter plants are heavy feeders. Brocs, caulis, kale, cabbages are big plants making lots of huge leaves! Chard and lettuces are nothing but leaves! So now is the time to lay in that compost you have been making, and a some worm castings – castings are most effective when a smaller amount is used—just 10-40 percent of the total volume of the plant growth medium that you put it in! Add some manure to your lettuce, parsley and garlic beds, Brassica areas. Peas and carrots are the exceptions. Peas are legumes and make their own Nitrogen, but sometimes they can do with a tad more if that soil is depleted. Too good a soil makes carrots hairy and they fork. And, over watering, irregular watering, can make them split.
- Establish your pathways, put up your trellises or cages for peas.
- Plant, plant, plant!
It’s Transplant Time! Put in cabbage and artichokes. Cilantro loves cool weather and is said to repel aphids on Coles/Brassicas – broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts! From Seeds: MORE arugula, beets, brocs, carrots, celery, chard, lettuce, mustard greens, peas, parsley (keep moist 20 days unless you presoaked), radish. Fall marks the end of the season for small red radishes and the beginning of the season for larger daikon-type radishes. Potatoes?! Oh, yes! Reds, fingerlings, Yukon Gold – your favorites! Check those lettuce packets for seed planting depth. Some you spread on the ground and simply pat in, water very gently. Others go in 1/4″ deep. True. Did you already plant fall veggies in August, Sept, or both? Excellent! Plant another round!Interplant plenty of mustard every couple of weeks as trap plants for Bagrada Bugs. Fast grower Giant Red is a good choice. Plant some among your lettuces to keep them off it. Don’t be surprised to find them on your Arugula too, another Brassica.
Green Manure Each year designate an area or two to let your soil rest, be restored. Decide where you will put your tomatoes next summer and plant a patch of favas there! Buy the organic seeds at your natural foods store bulk bins! Presprout your favas! Presprouting equals 100% germination and mucho time saved since favas have a notoriously low germination rate! It’s a no-brainer since it is so easy to do! Just be gentle when you plant the babies. If fava is too tall and would shade out other plants, put in a vetch green manure ground cover mix. It gets only 4-5′ tall.
FIRST GARLIC? Indeed. It’s Vampire Time! Late October (what did I tell you?) through Winter Solstice day. That’s at least two rounds, why not make it three?! See a LOT about GARLIC! for tasty planting information.
Harvest any lingering seeds. Special notes about your Winter Squash: Harvest and Curing – Fruit should be left until the vines are brown and withered, but should be harvested before frost or they will not store well. Optimum is when the stem is drying and the squash is well-matured, the rind hard and not easily broken with the thumbnail. With pruning shears, cut from the vine leaving 2 to 3″ of stem, and cure for 10 days in the field, or indoors in a cool place if frost is likely. Undamaged, they will keep for several months if stored in a cool dry place. Dampness is bad.
Cut your strawberry runners Oct 10 to 15 to put in fridge to chill at least 20 days until you plant them Nov 1 through 5!
Those of you with container gardens, dump out that old spent summer soil, pop in some tasty new mix, a trellis for the peas, anchor that pot! Get going – put in your seeds, baby transplants! You will soon be having holiday table treats, like crisp lettuces, bunch onions, colorful chards, nutritious kale!
Give your babies a boost! Drench young plants with Aspirin solution, + 1/4 cup nonfat powdered milk, to get them off to a great start!
Winter’s plants are incredibly productive! Cut and Come Again! Kale, collards, lettuces, leaf by leaf. Many lettuces and cabbages will ‘come back’ if you cut them off an inch or two above the lowest leaves. Cut bunch/table onions 1 to 2” above ground. They will come back 3 to 4 times – you will be amazed how fast! After you cut the main broccoli head off, let the side sprouts grow. Snip for salads/steaming.