TIPS- HOW TO END THE GARDENING SEASON SUCCESSFULLY:
The water will be shut off late October. Your plot must be fully winterized by Oct. 31st, and 8 volunteer hours must be completed & logged by Oct. 31st. (Unless other arrangements have been made w/ your P Patch Staff person.)
Clean your plots: Please take out your tomato plants and remove the fallen tomatoes. Buckets, used pots, trash, trellises and plant cages should all be removed & stored safely over the winter.
When clearing out summer vines, please do NOT overwhelm the compost bins. You will need to process everything that comes out of your plot. Chop up & burry within your plot- or bring home to dispose in your clean green. Keep any diseased leaves or plants and weeds out of your trench. Also do NOT throw away food. If it’s edible, then consider taking it over to a neighborhood food bank. Neighbors in need love green tomatoes to place on sunny window sills or fry up for a yummy treat!
WINTER IS COMING: Your fall and winter gardening plan should be well underway. If you have not planted for fall you may still find some winter planting options. At the very least you must winterize your plot. It’s a good idea to prevent winter rains from leeching nutrients and eroding the soil in your garden. It’s also a good way to help keep your soil from compacting over the winter. Plus, it’s required in all P-Patch community garden plots.
OVERWINTERING SEEDS: Cover crops – If you’re thinking about improving you soil and preventing soil runoff using a cover crop (like crimson clover, field peas, favas), the alternating rain and sun makes this is a glorious time of year to get some cover crop seed off to a good start. The basics of cover crops: you plant the seed thickly in fall, let it grow over the winter, and chop it up/turn it under in the spring for rich, fluffy soil.
Mulch – Or, if you are going to go the mulch route, start planning what you will use for mulch. Leaves are free & plentiful very soon! Check out the Seattle Farm Co-op in Rainier Valley for organic Hay or Straw. http://www.seattlefarmcoop.com/
Tuck in any crops you plan to overwinter with a nice layer of mulch.
Plant- October and early Nov. are great months for planting garlic or other bulbs for next year. Collards, Kale, Beets, Carrots can overwinter.
Covering the ground with burlap is also an option for preventing soil erosion and the growth of weeds.
* Coordinate this w/ your site leadership team: Distant Lands Coffee Warehouse in Renton. FREE Burlap. They give out in bulk, call ahead, and anyone with a truck- volunteer to pick up for the site!: 425.917.5200 / firstname.lastname@example.org
10 sacks for $10.00- http://www.seattlefarmcoop.com/online-ordering/
Second Use on 6th Ave sells them for $1.50 each. http://www.seconduse.com/
I would only add that we need everyone to chop up your leafy yard waste for our hot composting team in October; we need those greens! Throw the tough woody stalks on the yard waste pile in the bulk materials area. Don’t forget to weed the gravel path adjacent to your plot.
Tomato cages and garden stakes need to go home with you. PLEASE do not store them behind the building. It becomes a hazard area when people just toss stuff back there that can cause injuries such as pokes to the eyes or trip hazards.
If you are short on volunteer hours, and can’t make the final work parties, you can earn hours by helping put the whole garden to bed for winter: weed paths, entrances, around the pavilion and building, compost areas, ornamental border, and basketball court.
***Remember, weeding is therapeutic****
Get more winterization tips here