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Fallen leaves, crisp apples and a dusty country road that leads us to a farm’s pumpkin patch herald the start of autumn here on the North Coast.
Take a trip to your local nursery and you will find plenty of excitement there, fresh fall landscape shrubs, colorful salvias and plump daffodil bulbs. There is much to do in the garden these days. Consider the following:
Sow cover crop seeds: Fall is an ideal time to beef up your soil’s fertility. The easiest, most economical way to do this is to sow cover crop seeds and allow the crop to grow all winter through early spring. Clover, rye, vetch, field peas and bell beans are great for protecting bare soil from heavy rains. Legume types will add nitrogen to the soil, as well as fair amounts of organic matter.
Plant more: This is a good month to plant spring flowering bulbs and cool-season vegetable starts. Sow seeds of carrots, beets and Asian greens. If you are fond of fava beans, now is the time to plant for late spring harvest.
Water: Keep watering until the rainy begins in earnest. This means to continue watering berries, roses and newly planted landscape ornamentals. It also means you may have to deeply water more established trees and shrubs if they begin showing signs of stress.
Wait: Do not apply new mulch until after soaking rains have begun.
Weed: Recent light rain events have encouraged the sprouting of dormant weed seeds. Rake, hoe or spray with a strong solution of vinegar and soap.
Add color: Check out the exciting fall color at your local nursery. There you will find fall-blooming salvias, cyclamen, primulas, violas, pansies and more.
Terry Kramer is the site manager for the Humboldt Botanical Garden and a trained horticulturist and journalist. She has been writing a garden column for the Times-Standard since 1982. Contact her at [email protected]
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