October 2010

News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Ann Rivenes, Publisher

October obligations............................in the garden.......

...Let’s hope the hot, hot weather is over but we have had such a cool summer that maybe our Fall will be like summer and cooler weather and soils will come in Dec. These days who can tell? While the soil is still warm is a great time to plant and divide. After the first good rain it is a great time to plant your spring bulb (tulips, daffodils, etc.). So much easier to work the soil then. This is also an especially good time to be planting “Native” and Medit. plants so they get going a bit before the soil turns cold.

...in the spirit of being ‘green’ (re-use, recycle) – be sure to use any vegetable water left from steaming or cooking to give potted plants a boost. The water usually has lots of vitamins and stuff in it that plants can use. Coffee and tea leftovers are also beneficial to acid loving plants. Tea leaves and coffee grounds will be welcome as a mulch on most plants in our area since our soil and water are so alkaline. Of course if you really want to get into it you can go to a place that serves lots of coffee and ask if you can have their grounds. Many places are thrilled to get rid of them.

...this is a good time to clean up the garden beds but if you are like me and have lots of deciduous trees in your area it seems like a never ending process and I usually wait until the trees are pretty bare to get serious about cleanup. In many garden beds the leaves make a great mulch – just run over them on the lawn or bare ground (maybe where you’ve taken out a vegetable patch?) with the lawn mower to shred them a bit and use them between plants. Putting down a mulch of compost or well rotted manure first and then putting down the leaves will help keep the compost in place in a windy area and the compost will be leached into the soil during the winter rains. Always have to remind (myself mostly) to clean from top to bottom and back to front in beds to eliminate messing up what you’ve already cleaned. Think about the beds as you clean: what worked and what didn’t and this is the time to move or take out plants that just aren’t happy or that you aren’t happy with.

...while the nights are not too cold, take out your indoor plants and give them a good bath and a good soaking. That way you can leave them out for a night to drain thoroughly and there shouldn’t be any damage. One thing I read suggested putting a gold fish bowl (with live occupant) among indoor plants to keep them company and provide some humidity/moisture. I think the latter was the serious tip.

...On the other hand, if the forecasts are for really cold nights, better take your tender-ish succulents indoors or else put them under eaves or in a more protected area – maybe beside a white wall that will reflect heat. Many succulents will need hardly any watering during the cold weather. When purchasing succulents be sure to look at the minimum temperature they will survive at – that is often more important around here than the maximum. Many fleshy leaved succulents just collapse even in what cold weather we have in the Valley. Either take them inside or treat them as annuals.

...try some different spring bulbs this year like freesia, alliums, babiana, hyacinth, ixia, or camassia. All these are great repeaters in my garden and come back year after year. If you can’t find them at local nurseries look in catalogs (McClure and Zimmerman is one that specializes in bulbs) and order very soon.

Livermore Valley Garden Club (LAVGC) serving the Tri-Valley: Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, Sunol, and San Ramon