Pacific Northwest Gardening forum: Fall is almost upon us, share your outdoor chores you do from now until spring.

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Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
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lauriebasler
Sep 18, 2016 11:59 PM CST
I am having a little case of the blues, thinking of winter being upon us. I had such a productive busy summer in the yard. I find myself a little worried I may go stir crazy with the short days. I would love to learn what others do outdoors, in the landscape and gardens, as we count down the long winter months. Are there things you fertilize, things you cut back, scheduled maintenance we should all be doing? Please share.

Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Sep 19, 2016 8:41 AM CST
I am grateful to live in a temperate region where I can usually get outside for short periods of time even in the dead of winter. Love sunny but cold days to putter around - cleaning up blown down branches, finding a stray bloom here and there, or just making notes of things to do once spring arrives.

Pruning starts for me in late Dec / early Jan and is pretty time consuming. I enjoy that activity as I'm not actually sticking my hands in the cold dirt, and it is physical enough to work up a good warmth.

I always have the intention of winterizing my tools properly, but have so far only done a cursory clean. So, that's high on my winter list yet again.

Cleaning out the garden corner of our barn is a good rainy-day project.

If you have any concrete around your place, pressure washing spruces things up nicely, and with proper rain gear it's not a bad winter chore.

I also use winter for going through My List here and updating with information and photos. Plus organize on the computer my plant pictures, uploading to NGA those that might be of interest.

Find and organize all the various notes I've made during the growing season of what to change for the next season.

Prepare a nursery wish list so when spring comes I'm ready to roll. I've found it best to include the botanical name, common name, and where to plant it. Last year, I limited myself to only buying however many plants I could reasonably expect to get into the ground THAT DAY. Made for more trips to the nursery, but way less losses from plants drying out in their pots, unsure where to put them, etc.

Great thread idea. I look forward to others chiming in.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Sep 19, 2016 9:51 AM CST
Considering that our winters are longer and somewhat more 'profound' (no pruning in January :rofl:), I still follow Deb's plans. I make profuse notes about what I want to do next spring then pitch them or don't bother to read them when the time comes. I am determined to design a more efficient to maintain garden, e.g. less weeding, more enjoyment of the plants and flowers. It shouldn't be a bummer to walk in your garden in the spring and summer. Actually it isn't until late summer when the weeds seem to take over that I get down. Mother Nature seems to have infinitely more energy than I. And gardens seem to personify 'entropy.' Sad

I actually look forward to fall and winter. I do the best I can cleaning the beds and maintenance areas. Tidying and picturing them neatly laying beneath a snow cover. I am being a tad more ruthless this year in redesigning beds so a friend suggested that I pot up the plants that I will pitch, put them in my raised beds (burying the pots) and then in the spring having a plant sale to offset purchases (and of course, no matter how many plants we have, there WILL be purchases Whistling ). Adds to the work, but I can do that in the garage, now tidied up from summer projects. I need to put up a saw horse, get soil and work it like an assembly line.

I also need to look over what seeds I used this year for vegies and annuals that I want to do again next year. I have a spreadsheet where I keep them along with when I planted them, when they germinated, when they went outside. I expect so much come spring, way before the weather is conducive, so looking at all the pictures I take starting in spring helps me stay realistic about what will start growing when the snow disappears. I always expect instant flowers in the deadness of my garden, and alas, think that if I water they will spring forth. All I manage is to rot plants that are still mired in frozen soil and not able to use the water at all.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Oct 24, 2016 10:52 AM CST
Yesterday I rode around on the back of the tractor (actually on top of the brush hog) and trimmed eye poking branches in our back roads. I'm hoping we can manage the dang beavers to the point I am able to continue walking out back, it is quite a lovely trek with ups and downs for exercise.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
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Pistil
Oct 24, 2016 6:53 PM CST
Laurie-
I do the same as Oberon and Bonehead- winter is good for catching up on my garden notebook/plans. I sort all the plant tags I have tossed in a box all year with date and location written on them.
I do no fertilizing, but at some point might spread some bagged mulch I never got around to dealing with. I don't cut much back, I leave it up for the birds and to help with erosion control as I live on a slope and hill.
Yep there are a few outdoor chores I can do, using my Flame Weeder, hacking away at the blackberries, English Ivy, bindweed and wisteria that come into my yard from the neighbors...
I start looking at seed/plant catalogs-these used to come in after Christmas, now they start showing up in December! It takes a long time an lots of lists to decide what to get.
I have a bunch of used gardening/botany books I have been buying over the year, intend to read them (this fall I got some on South African Bulbs, as some will be hardy here).
Clean the garage out... This year I WILL do it. I plan to put a little electric heater there so it will be dry and comfortable that day.
Like Bonehead I intend to clean up my tools this year, I actually bought some Linseed oil for the wooden handles.
This spring I got some indoor light fixtures for starting seeds in January/February.
I need to re-plan my "South Bed" as most everything I planted is 6 feet tall instead of 2-3 feet, and the "Fireworks" Solidago is turning the flowerbed into a Fireworks explosion. Anyone want some?
Oh and in December you should try "Wintersowing", this is great fun, it really is a nice thing to do in a "down" time, and then everything just sprouts in the spring and is ready to go! I often go out and looks at my containers to see if anything has sprouted yet.
Another little project I might work on (Uh oh the secret is out) I have lots of photos that I can upload into the database for Acorns. I especially think I am going to work on photos of seedpods and seeds, as these are mostly nonexistent and now that I am saving seeds I often have trouble identifying what is a seed. I found an adequate seed photo can be done with my Iphone.

MOST fun of all last year and now- I have been saving seeds, joining the seed swaps here in NGA. It's a blast, gives me something to think about and do in late summer and fall. I just finished packaging up about 40 kinds of seeds I saved! Plus when I buy a pack of seeds I almost never plant all the seeds, and I can swap the rest for other things. Now I will have all kinds of new seeds for my Wintersowing.
So this year I am not at all blue about the winter-I have a lot of fun things to do!


Thumb of 2016-10-25/Pistil/e6e555

Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Oct 24, 2016 8:07 PM CST
Mary, I do the same thing with my poppy seeds. I don't save much else other than some nasturtium seeds from a dark colored one I like. But I have probably 20+ packets of seeds from all sorts of opium poppies (breadseed? are they the same?). Mostly lavender, red, pink, dark purple and such. Much fewer white and black. I put a bout 1/8tsp each in tiny zip locks and gave to the botanical garden to sell in the spring. They get several dollars for them and sold out of the black ones last year. Not really black, just looks that way from certain angles; really just a really dark purple.

Got the bucket of lily bulbs that I almost pitched layered in soil in a cardboard box and then in a 13 gallon garbage bag then out the back door. I was told they would make it through the winter. What the heck I am going to do with them come spring, I have no idea. They vary from the size of a large plum down to a thumb nail. From the colors I suspect some of them are quite pretty remembering the lilies I have had planted near where they got dug up. Problem is that as I dug them they all went into one bucket. I tried to keep them apart but then gave up. I am sure if they survive some won't bloom next year but many will. So I will keep those and pitch the rest. I am soooo done for the year. Well, except for buying seed after the first of the year for vegies and a few annual flowers.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Nov 19, 2016 6:11 PM CST
Mowed and weed wacked today, perhaps for the last time before spring... So far we are having a very mild fall - I've only had two frosts, neither very hard. I'm seeing a lot of new growth on perennials, and nasturtium seedlings popping up. Honeysuckle and feverfew still blooming. Most trees are now bare, except a couple Japanese maples and a gingko.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
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lauriebasler
Nov 21, 2016 7:26 AM CST
It is different out there in my yard this year too. Blue fescue should be looking shaggy, but it is still neat and tidy, and changed to a lovely light forest green. I have not seen this from this plant before. I have weeds thinking they are safe to grow still, I will have to get after soon.

We are having a great deal of tree droppings, that we have never had before, covering the black top, porches and cars and traveling into the house on cats, and humans. Seems I am either blowing it, or vacuuming it, and I do not even know what it is.

You have such a lovely place for Thanks giving Deb. Have a great Holiday.

Laurie B
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 21, 2016 5:36 PM CST
Still no frost where I live (a few miles from Possession Sound). Our nights have only gone down to around 40-45 F most nights this year so far!

My 50% first frost date was Oct. 26
My 90% first frost date was Nov. 14.

My 50% 28F date is Nov. 22 (tomorrow).
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Nov 22, 2016 8:17 AM CST
Rick. You really have stats you keep like that? If I remember to write it on the calendar from year to year I am lucky. Think I have three dates noted for first snow and first harvest.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Nov 22, 2016 11:03 AM CST
Usually at this time of the year, it is the never ending clean up of fallen leaves and other tree debris, but it has rained and October came and went as a comfy cool month, so our city trees are holding on to the leaves just a tad longer. So it will for sure extend my clean up chore to January, before the next flush of new tree debris comes about for Spring - catkins and the leaf kernels of new leaf growth.

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 22, 2016 12:51 PM CST
Oberon46 said:Rick. You really have stats you keep like that?


No way! I haven't even lived here for 20 years. When I moved here, I sat down with the NOAA site and gradually made sense of some of the different pages. One of them (I think it was NOAA) had average first and last frost dates for 50%, 90% and 10% , 32 degrees, 36 degrees and 28 degrees. I think this came from a weather station in Everett, WA.

For example, in 90% of the last 20 years, there was a low temp at or below 36 degrees on or before Oct. 30.

In 10% of the last 20 years, there was a low temp at or below 36 degrees on or before Sept 26.

Let's see if I can upload a screenshot of my crib sheet ...

Thumb of 2016-11-22/RickCorey/ec0139

Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Nov 22, 2016 10:30 PM CST
How cool is that! Wonder if our NOAA office has such info. May go look
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Nov 23, 2016 11:25 AM CST
As I recall, there were a gazillion NOAA weather pages, but finding the one I wanted, and making sense of it, was hard.

I'd start here:
https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/

Some links to a variety of data sources:
https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links

I thought that the data I found came from "climate normals":
https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/land-based-station-dat...

But I'm not finding anything like the little summary table of average-minimum-daily-temperatures.

I'll keep hunting when I find time.
[Last edited by RickCorey - Nov 23, 2016 11:54 AM (+)]
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 23, 2016 11:55 AM CST
Oh wow! It probably came from the OLD DG!

Enter your own ZIP code here:

http://davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-frost-dates/index.php?q...
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Nov 27, 2016 9:32 PM CST
Rick ...

This really interesting stuff, but I am not sure I trust it completely.

I clicked on the link to the National Climatic Data Center which took me to the page for NOAA National Center for Environmental Information and I dropped down to Climate Normals and clicked on that link. I selected "California" and then "Weaverville" and got this graph and chart:

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/datatools/normals

The lows and highs do not reflect what temps I have experienced up here. I know my average night temps during the winter months are usually around 20F and I can tell you my summer high temps are often well above 100F.

Averaging the temps over several years skews the data significantly. Also, averaging the temps over the whole month also distorts the information.

The question becomes how useful is the information ?

I was also trying to find the chart you posted. They have some really interesting info on NOAA and now they have broken it out into a couple of sites. I could have spent hours on the stuff I was finding. I can see why you said you would get back to us later. WOW ! ... and I didn't think I could get hooked on reading about weather.... go figure.

Thanks for doing a lot of the research for us. I got buried and almost didn't finish this post ... Smiling

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Nov 29, 2016 3:42 PM CST
It came from the OLD DG!
]http://davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-frost-dates/index.php?q...

I finally realized that I got my "90-50-10% / 36-32-28 'F" table from the old DG website.

I got totally lost (again) among all the different NOAA pages. I think the best use I got out of them was just browsing by hand through daily highs and lows. I had some high-level stats like the USDA Hardiness Zone, but looking at the past detailed data showed me that winters went BELOW my USDA minimum in almost HALF of all years ... then I remembered that averages work that way. That's why I like the "90%" frost dates better than the "50%" frost dates.

>> Averaging the temps over several years skews the data significantly. Also, averaging the temps over the whole month also distorts the information.

Totally. I agree. Further, different kinds of averages confuse me. Like "daily extremes, averaged", or "extremes OF the daily average temperature".

>> The lows and highs do not reflect what temps I have experienced up here.

Is your area mountainous? I know that elevation and exposure can have a bigger effect than latitude. But also, for any kind of averaged statistic, each day or year will vary around that average, sometimes with a wide dispersion. But if your lows are USUALLY lower and your highs are USUALLY higher, than the stats are not describing YOUR location.

Someone living on a mountain (or maybe it was in a valley) mentioned that she couldn't use any of the NOAA stations to describe her yard. I think what she found was the Weather Underground, where many private people have stations that report data to some central database. She found someone fairly local whose station was located in a microclimate that was closer to hers than any of the NOAA stations were.

The fact that tables of Koppen Climate Zones by county have to put multiple - like 3-5 - zones into some counties show that weather may vary more from some blocks to some blocks than from some states to other states.

Here are some links I collected back in 2013:
http://garden.org/blogs/entry/836/

Here is a list of every county in the USA, by state, naming all the Koppen Climate Zones that can be found within that one county, and what % of the area of the county has that Koppen Climate Zone:
http://koeppen-geiger.vu-wien.ac.at/data/KoeppenGeiger.UScou...

Weather Underground weather history:
https://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KPAE/2016/11/29...

Like politics, weather is local. Averages and other statistics might not be useful unless you find exactly the right statistic, and it is targeted at a useful geographic location.

[Last edited by RickCorey - Nov 30, 2016 11:46 AM (+)]
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Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
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Pistil
Nov 29, 2016 7:59 PM CST
Weather Underground is amazing. It is one of those things that gives me hope for the human species, that so many people do this as a public service. Someone has a station about 1/4 mile from me. Info goes back for years, you can search out any date or date range, although there does not seem to be possible to find average and extreme temperatures for say the last week of November for more than one year, you gotta look at each year individually. But I do this sometimes-I am taking a trip next June to Eastern WA (Photography Workshop I can't wait)-I wondered about the weather, so I looked at that week for the last 7 years, this gave me a real good idea how to dress (could get to 100 but usually low 70s in the day, or below 60, and at night gets very chilly but does not freeze). However Weather Underground does not actually list frost dates, that is generally only of interest to the farmers, so it is in some of those governmental websites RickCorey uses, and in the DG website.
Our county (RickCorey and I are both here) is huge, goes from the mild Puget Sound he experiences, up to the Stevens Pass Ski Area, which is alpine!
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Nov 29, 2016 8:07 PM CST
Rick ...

Weather Underground has been sold and no longer has the same weather stations for all areas. That site used to be the best one for up here, but no longer has the historical data that WU used to have available. The historical data on WU was far more accurate than NOAA.

For some reason the new owners of the site do not have the historical data available. I think they are working on it, but tracking weather info is much harder on the site than it used to be.

For example the Weaverville Airport used to be a reporting station. It is no longer listed on WU with new owners ... Sad

I used to be able to get information about what the expected elevation of the snow fall would be. Living in the mountains, that is important info. So far, I haven't been able to find a new site that gives me that kind of information.

Is your area mountainous? I know that elevation and exposure can have a bigger effect than latitude. But also, for any kind of averaged statistic, each day or year will vary around that average, sometimes with a wide dispersion. But if your lows are USUALLY lower and your highs are USUALLY higher, than the stats are not describing YOUR location.

Yes, I do live in the mountains, but WU used to have more stations reporting at different elevations. Oh, well. I hope they get it together.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Nov 30, 2016 3:15 PM CST
RoseBlush1 said:Rick ...

Weather Underground has been sold and no longer has the same weather stations for all areas. That site used to be the best one for up here, but no longer has the historical data that WU used to have available. The historical data on WU was far more accurate than NOAA.
...


I'm sad to hear that, but thanks for telling me!

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