As the dog days of summer begin to cool down, the last of our summer crops will come to harvest. But that does not mean your gardening is over for the season. There are plenty of ways to extend your time with your fruits, vegetables and even flowers through the rest of the year. Here are a few ideas and tips for October gardening.
- It’s apple picking season! Whether you have a large harvest or you are headed to one of the many Apple Festivals across California, there are a ton of sweet concoctions you can make with them. Apple butter, apple sauce, dried apples, cider and my favorite, spiced apple rings— these are delicious with the holiday hams!
- Your summer vegetables may have perked up for one last hurrah in the cooler weather! Take advantage of it by trying out a new recipe or two before the frost sets in. I created a delicious spicy relish using tomatoes, eggplant, squash and peppers from my garden.
- Don’t forget to get the last of your fall veggies planted now before it gets cold! Leaf lettuces, broccoli, carrots, beets, cabbage, and cauliflower…we call them “Roots and Shoots,” because, unlike summer vegetables, they don’t require bees to pollinate them. Fall vegetables grow primarily from roots and stalk that we harvest and eat.
- Fall isn’t just for vegetable gardens; it is also the time to plant cool-season color in your flower beds as well. Pansies, violas, calendulas, snapdragons and a childhood favorite of mine, Johnny-jump-ups, all make great additions to your garden and thrive in the cooler weather. Another favorite– Icelandic poppies love the cold weather and are always a cheery burst of color on those dark foggy days.
- Houseplants need a little different care this time of year. When the days get shorter, the sun moves to the south for the winter, affecting the amount and intensity of light coming into the windows. October is the perfect time to check that your plants are getting the right amount of light for the next few months. Remember too– fluctuating temperatures and drafts will also make your houseplants unhappy, so move them if they are too close to heater vents or doors.
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