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Your Regional Garden News - Zone 8

October 1 to October 31

 

Discover what you should be doing right now.  Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.  

Here's what's happening in your gardening region:

 

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    Learn about planning and building a garden

    October is actually a great time to build a new garden. Cooler weather means less actual sweat and tears while doing labor-intensive work. Learn about how to build a raised bed garden. Then, once the garden has been put together, learn how to plan what to plant, when, so that you get the most out of your garden space.

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    Plant a blackberry garden

    Blackberries are probably the single easiest fruit to grow. If you don’t have space for them along the side of your yard, you should reconsider and make some! They require some basic pruning and staking twice a year. Otherwise, you just leave them alone to grow. After about two years in the ground you’ll get hugely prolific harvests. Six plants will keep a family of four in berries for cobblers and jam. They need full sun to grow the biggest harvest. Fall is an excellent time to plant these vining fruits for establishment during cooler weather.

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    Grow cool season herbs

    Just as there are vegetables that prefer warm weather and vegetables that prefer cool weather there are herbs that prefer warm weather and herbs that prefer cool weather. Now is a great time to enjoy cool-season herbs such as dill, parsley, and fennel. If you plan them now while the soil is still relatively warm, they can germinate and grow prior to winter and will be poised to grow like crazy in the spring.

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    Learn about growing winter ornamentals

    Hopefully there’s room in your garden for more than edibles—vegetables and herbs. We have a big variety of ornamental plants, from flowers to foliage, and some of them thrive during the fall, winter, and early spring. Learn about what to plant, when, and how to combine these cool-weather plants with the rest of your garden to achieve true beauty, year-round. (A perk of living in zones 7 and 8!)

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    What you need to extend the growing season

    October ushers in cooler nights. While it is unlikely there will be any sort of hard freeze this month, it could happen. And if that happens, how will your plants fare? If you’re trying to squeeze out a last few fruits from tomatoes you planted in August, you can try to keep plants warm and snug in a Wall O Water. Newer seedlings of lettuces, cauliflower, and broccoli will benefit from protection from a Floating Row Cover or TunLCover. Just remember to remove the covers during the day so the plants don’t overheat!

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Some folks call them squirrels, but most gardeners call them "tree rats," as they can really damage bulbs in the garden. Squirrels are everywhere and the best you can do is to discourage them. Repellants work for a while, but a physical barrier is usually the best deterrent. Hardware cloth, a stiff, meshed wire screen with holes of various diameters — use half-inch or three-quarters — can be placed below ground over bulb plantings to protect them until they come up or it can be molded over pots to keep the varmints from digging in the soil.