Fall gardening in the Cowichan Lake area

Carolyne Austin shares some gardening tips for fall in the Cowichan Lake area.

Well, this has certainly been a different year for gardening with the heat, drought and stage 3 watering restrictions. It was hard to keep some things alive, but we did it. We hand-watered most of the time and saved some bath and dish water, trucking it downstairs to various dry areas. Mulching was more important than ever this year.

My fruit did exceptionally well, especially the peach and pear trees, and the rhubarb had two growth spurts. Don’t forget to water trees during the winter especially during the frosty times as the roots can dry out. This goes for any shrubs under roofs or dry covered areas as well.

October is time to plant garlic again, near the full moon if you can. They don’t need a lot of fertilizing, but planting along with compost and bone meal gives them a good start. I sprinkle alfalfa pellets on the top after planting as well.

Believe it or not, my bush marrow squash are still flowering and there are at least three small squash filling out right now.

Greens, rutabagas (swedes), carrots and beets are still prevalent and I have some mid-season potatoes to dig as well. Root vegetables can stay in the ground over most of the winter if covered with hay.

Buckerfields’ fall rye/pea/vetch mix can be planted in cleared-out areas of the garden to fix the nitrogen in the soil and stop erosion from winter rains. When it gets tall just weed-eat it and let it lie then it can be dug in or rototilled in the spring.

Hopefully, we will get enough winter rain soon and we need a good snow pack too.

Delphiniums and poppies have bloomed again after cutting back but the Ester Reed Daisies and Jacob’s Ladders did not. Dahlias are still blooming well and if you dead-head often you should have flowers well into November. They are under my overhang in the front of the house so I might just leave them in over the winter and see how they do.

Blue Mason Bees will have to be cleaned and put away for the winter in November. It is a bit of a job, but well worth it for the bees. Ours didn’t fill many holes this year and we aren’t sure why.

The Lake Bloomers’ Garden Club’s Oct. 21 meeting will follow up on unfinished and new business and suggestions for upcoming meetings. Our President, Cara Smith, will be attending various other garden club meetings in the valley to network with fellow gardeners and get some new ideas for 2015.

Maureen and Carol will report on their trip to the B.C. Council of Garden Clubs’ seminar in Burnaby on Oct. 18. The guest speaker will be the well-known Des Kennedy from Denman Island discussing the topic of wall gardens. He is a real character who had a gardening show on CBC years ago.

Some members took cuttings of geraniums and potted them up under the tutelage of Susanne at our September meeting and will report on their progress.

Our Annual General meeting and elections are held in November and we hope to have a show and tell session, recipe and household tip sharing and do some planning for next year.

Guests are welcome at all meetings which are held at ‘The 50 Plus Activity Centre’ (Seniors Centre) on the third Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m. Many of us come early and enjoy a fresh homemade lunch prior to the meeting.

Contact Cara at smithcara50@gmail.com for further information.

 

–Submitted by Carolyne Austin