October Garden Tasks

Happy Fall Y'All!

It’s a great time to add plants to your garden!  Merritt College is having their Annual Fall Plant Fair & Sale this weekend.  All proceeds support the excellent landscape and horticultural department at Merritt College (my alma mater!)

  • Shop for fall and winter color at your nursery.
  • Plant spring-blooming bulbs.  
  • Sow seeds of spring-blooming annuals such as Clarkia (farewell-to-spring), Nigella (love-in-a-mist), Orlaya grandiflora and sweet peas,
  • Remove under-performing plants or plants that are past their prime and replace with new plants.
  • Plant hardy shrubs, groundcovers and frost-tolerant perennials.
  • Fertilize azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons with no nitrogen formula (0-10-10) to encourage bud formation but not new leafy growth.
  • Divide Agapanthus, daylilies, irises, primroses, shasta daisies  Pull up plant with shovel or pitchfork, ease roots or bulbs apart.  Replant and share extras.
  • Remove spent blossoms on all flowering plants.  
  • Keep weeding  Oxalis is starting to show up...keep pulling them up regularly before they bloom!  

Vegetable and Fruit Garden
  • Sow cool-season crops like beets, carrots, onions, peas and radishes.
  • Plant bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, garlic, lettuce and spinach from nursery starts.
  • Continue to harvest!  Pick all fruit and vegetables that are ready.  Clean up decaying matter off ground.
  • If not planting a winter garden clean up summer garden, cover with cardboard and add mulch or compost on top. In the spring you will be ready to plant with minimal weeding

Read more of Angele's gardening and landscaping tips in the Patch Archives.


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Patricia Minnis October 02, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Ms. Sweet - I LOVE LOVE LOVE to read your column! I recently had my backyard restyled and I'm interested in planting some unusual plants. If I went to the Merritt College Annual Fall Plant Fair & Sale this Saturday morning, what would be some cool plants to purchase for a north facing, part shade and part sun backyard garden in San Leandro? My style is eclectic at best. Thanks!
Angele Sweet October 02, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Thank you for your kind comment! I'm not sure of the nursery plants they will have this year at the sale but I would look for Fuchsia, ferns, Liriope for the north-facing area of your garden. Abutilons (Flowering Maples) do well in a part-sun location as does Agapathus 'Storm Cloud' which has rich blue-purple flowers. The staff at the sale are students and are usually knowledgeable about the sun and water needs of each plant. Enjoy the food and music!
Tom Abate October 02, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Food & music are always good. But I have a thing about Fuchsias. I'll explain sometime. They awaken repressed memories.
Angele Sweet October 03, 2012 at 05:53 AM
Sorry to hear about the repressed memories...You might like Fuchsia thymifolia - thyme-leaved fuchsia. It's fairly problem-free and has dainty flowers and leaves. It probably won't remind you of the past!


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