Gardening Basics

§ The Master Gardener plant clinic will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mon.-Fri. through the end of October. Beginning in November, the clinic will be open only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 776-7371 or bring your problems to them at 569 Hanley Rd. in Central Point.

§ Protect compost piles from winter rains, but keep them moist. Adequate heat build-up is important in order to destroy disease organisms and weed seeds. Adding your coffee grounds is a good way to keep nitrogen content, and therefore temperature, high.

§ No compost pile? Add coffee grounds directly to the soil around roses, evergreens or camellias.

§ Harvest soft-skinned plants before the first frost, including tomatoes, peppers, and horseradish. Hard-skinned vegetables, like winter squash, don't mind a light frost and some brassicas, like brussels sprouts, benefit.

§ Early in the month plant shallots, fava beans, and garlic.

§ Prune perennial herbs to approximately half their height before winter. Don't cut beyond green growth on woody herbs like lavender, thyme or rosemary.

§ Cut down globe artichokes to 6 inches and deeply mulch the root area. Clean up asparagus beds, and mulch with manure.

§ This is great planting weather for trees, ornamental shrubs and most perennials.

§ Divide and replant any perennials that have overgrown their spaces. Prepare the soil for any late winter plantings/transplantings you have in mind, such as roses or bare-root ornamentals.

§ A big selection of bulbs is available now. Buy and keep cool outdoors. Plant after winter rains begin, through the month of December. To plant crocus in your lawn, slice into the sod, lifting in sections and scatter bulbs. They will naturalize.

§ Consider putting in your holiday lights, now. They make a great display anytime during these seasons of short days.

§ Feed your lawn with a balanced fertilizer before the weather gets cold. Follow package directions. Add agricultural lime this month if the pH of your soil is below 6.0.

§ Seed thin areas by adding a thin layer of compost, raking it in and sprinkling with seed. Keep moist and avoid walking on this area.

§ Readjust your sprinkler system for October water needs. About a 1/2; inch of water per week is right during October. Turn off your automatic system when the winter rains arrive.

§ Salmon Festival at North Mountain Park: Celebrate Bear Creek salmon in this, their fourth annual happening. Learn to protect and enhance salmon habitat. Games for the kids, salmon meals for purchase, exhibits, including live salmon, hands-on demonstrations and live entertainment from bands such as Montana Soul, the Prairie Chickens and the Rutendo Marimba Band. North Mountain Park in Ashland on Saturday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free to the public.