The Top 10 Things To Do In Your Garden This Fall

I leave my plants with seed heads to clean up in the spring so that birds can feed on the seeds all winter and the dropped seeds spread desired plants. 

I concentrate on building soil. Getting humus into the soil is important for clay and sandy soils. I garden in Spokane on an ancient swamp and I need more sand and fresh layers of carbon in the form of dried leaves, and especially Mullein leaves. They make outstanding mulching leaves. I like to put 2-4 inches of mulch around the plants and cover the plants with about 4 inches of pine needles or straw. 

Squirrels ate my 300 daffodil bulbs several years ago and I don't plant many bulbs as a result. There are a few plants that wild animals don't bother, ie. Grape hyacinth, Achillea, Helleborus, Foxgloves, Lavender, Aster, Solidago, Clematis, Asclepius, Columbine, Echinacea, Monarda. Some of these plants currently grow in my Spokane garden and I will take cuttings and plant them this autumn in the terraces.

I will be planting seeds at the Newport garden greenhouse this winter. I have been collecting seeds that I want to move north.  Laura has already sowed clover in the bare soil disturbed by our fire prevention efforts. She also has created another long hugelkultur and filled it with tree trunks and slash. These will take acidic plants. 

I hope each one of you have as much fun in your garden as I. Getting dirt under my fingernails, clothes all coated with sand, and sweat running down my back keeps me healthy. 

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Replies to This Discussion

I'm glad you're full of plans, Joan, good for you! I'm working on making compost, going through my notes to see what I can grow next year, and I try to prevent the spiders from invading my rooms. They're ok in the garden, but NOT in the house.

I agree, Plinius, I don't like spiders in my house and have the outside foundation and my basement sprayed by my favorite spray company. I have Black Widow spiders, as is common in Spokane. 

Composting is a craft, an art, a science, and an adventure. I love what it does for my garden. 

Do you have any favorites that you plan to use again next year? 

Spiders here are not dangerous to people, but I don't like them anyway. 

Next year I'll try to grow more vegetables - for once the hollyhocks took over a lot of my garden, and you know it's centimetre work up here! But the herbs and nasturturiums were a big success, especially in the many salads I made. I forgot to plant garlic last october, but will do it this year. I'm still waiting for my harvest of FOUR tomatoes and FOUR tayberries! 

We have one other spider that is toxic, the Brown Recluse. 

Black Widow vs. Brown Recluse Spider in Pictures

Laura had a Brown Recluse spider bite when we lived in Texas. We finally had to have the skin removed from her ankle to stop the necrotic tissue from spreading.

Great job, Chris. Herbs, nasturtiums, four tomatoes and four tayberries are better than nothing and taste so precious when eaten. Next year, you may have a more bountiful crop, but not any better tasting, I am sure.  

Joan, I admire your plans and efforts!

I didn't know that about mullein. i have one mullein plant that volunteered. I let it grow as a novelty. Probaby borage leaves would be similar. I have a lot of those.

Interesting your wild animals that your narcissus and not the muscari. Mine ate the muscari and not the narcissus.

I am collecting seeds too. I have enough roma bean seeds fo next year. I am planning more big beds of borage. Not sure how to save those seeds. I saved lots of French marigold seeds, with one batch being off-type. That id larger, looser plant, stronger leaf fragrance - some would say odor. Also will save seedsfrom chinese chives to expand late summer bee forage.

I am adding another raised bed. I had some extra cement blocks. This one in only 4 x 4 and it will have chinese chives. I need to mix ome compost into the soil.

Egyptian Walking Onions are growing fast. I still have a few dozen to dig up from their old weedy bed to replant. Not sure where they will go.

You set a fine example for me to follow.

Daniel, with Borage, I just cut a stem or pull the plant and throw it where I want it to grow in my garden next year. I don't know how to collect their seeds, although I am sure it can be done. 

Deer certainly have voracious appetites and maybe acquired tastes. Why would your deer like Muscari and not narcissus and mine the opposite? Very Interesting.

Very Interesting But Also Stupid

You do so much more work in your garden than I in mine, Daniel. Since 2013, I neglected my garden, just sat in it and healed. You worked and I am sure you had as much fatigue as I. I discovered I had a good scaffolding of perennial trees, shrubs and foods, that it took care of itself. The heavy mulching helped keep the weeds down and moisture in. 

Your garlic have proliferated and this year's harvest was four dozen heads. I'm taking some to plant in Laura's garden and sharing the rest, telling of their historical roots. 


Joan that's wonderful about the garlic. It's a WA State classic.

You needed to heal. I needed to putter.

Would you like some Egyptian Walking Onion starts? I have plenty. They are an heirloom plant and very vigorous. The one downside is they have a much stronger flavor compared to most onions. Ning loves them.

Daniel, thank you for the offer of Egyptian Walking Onions. It seems they love my soil and are so prolific I can't give any more away. 

Yes, I agree, they have a stronger flavor and like Ning, I like them. Not in every dish, but in those robust dishes that some like and  some hate. 

I know that puttering is a process of healing and you inspire me as you reported on what you are up to. I very much want to see your gardens some day. I want to soak up some of your spirit and energy. 

I thought you would probably have them. Herbivores ate a lot of mine off last winter but they have all recovered. Just ate some on noodles. This year they will have fencing.

I'm looking forward to summer's end now. Strange as it seems, Im sated with the fresh fruits and vegetables, and flowers. Fall will be a chance to cool down and slow down. They say with El Nino this will be a mild winter. I dont know how that translates to your side of the mountains.

The interesting part of fall for me is there really are a lot of things to plant and do in the garden. When I was growing up in the rural midwest, fall felt like the end of agriculture and horticulture, for the year.

If things go well this fall, I may have plants growing under lights all winter. I am saving / stratifying daylily seeds that I cross pollinated this summer, and want to try growing them inside to get a head start. Ditto with some unusual stone fruits.

I hope you have some fresh vegetables under lights this winter. Your light arrangement looks perfect for high intensity and candle power. You provided clear instructions on making a light source in a previous post. 

Enjoyed reading the list.

Cleaning up walkways between raised beds. Ning put down cardboard to cover with mulch. Didnt work out, so I am now planting clover seeds there for bees and walkways. Planted buckwheat seeds in some beds to build soil and feed bees. That will be killed by frost. I wonder if the dead pkants will then serve as mulch until planting time.

Will plant garlic. Replanting winter onions. Refresh chinese chives by digging, dividing, and replant in a new raised bed. This one is reused cement blocks, should last a lifetime.

When rains start I have some fruit trees to plant. I started them in containers. They are ready when the weather is ready.

Planting turnips, kohlrabi, spinach, radishes, cilantro.

Maybe a few spring bulbs.

Divide some of the daylilies. A few for gifts. This was my year of the daylily.

Will be glad not to have to water so much. Mulch the corn and squash areas with weed and grass trimmings, once the grass is growing again.

Harvest squash and pumpkins. Some are ready now.

Saving seeds. Marigolds - starting a new variety of French marigold from a sport, takler, looser, not as covered with flowers, stronger leaf scent. Plus the standard ones. Chinese chive seeds, also for bee forage. I might save borage seeds if not too difficult.

In keeping with your list of 10 things to do, I have a cobblestone walkway to finish. Too much wirk for summer and soil is too hard. When rains return, I can finish that project. Better access to garden beds and less mud to walk through when puttering.




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