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Gardening in Washington State

Archive for October 2015

Fall Garden Tips: Time to Plant Garlic

In the Northwest, garlic is planted as cloves in the fall. Garlic requires full sun (at least 6 hours per day). It is best started by direct sowing seed garlic that can be purchased through some garden centers, catalogs, and online websites. Certified seed garlic has been grown specifically for planting in the garden and is free of insects and diseases.

Plant garlic in early to mid-fall (September to October) in eastern Washington gardens and late fall (November) in western Washington gardens. To prepare the planting area, loosen the soil to improve drainage.


Plant large cloves that are clean and dry and plant them the same day the bulb is broken apart. Cloves showing any discoloration, stippling, or bruising should be discarded. Plant the cloves so that the tops are 2 inches below the soil line, and place the garlic clove flat-side down and pointed-side up in the hole. Garlic should be planted 4–6 inches apart in rows that are spaced 12–24 inches apart.

For more information on growing garlic, see Growing Garlic in Home Gardens.

Submitted by: Nicole Martini, October 26, 2015


Harvesting Winter Squash

Winter squashes are harvested fully mature when the skins feel hard and waxy. In autumn, there is no hurry to harvest winter squashes unless excessively cold or wet weather is approaching. Pick winter squashes with stems attached. Cure in a warm, dry place and store at room temperature. Under these conditions, winter squashes store between 3 to 5 months. After the final harvest, be sure to remove and destroy the leftover plant debris. Alternatively, turning under the remaining plant material into the garden soil can help replenish nutrients and contribute to the organic content of the soil.

Photo credit: Trevor Mattea, Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Trevor Mattea, Wikimedia Commons


For more information please see WSU publication Growing Squash in Home Gardens FS087E

Submitted by: Catherine Daniels, Oct. 21, 2015


Will woody mulch acidify my soils?

In field situations it is difficult to significantly alter soil pH without the addition of chemicals. Temporary changes in pH may be found in the decomposing mulch layer itself, but these have little effect on underlying soils. Significant changes in soil pH can only occur after decades or centuries of mulch use.

pine needles

For more information on wood chip mulches, see “Using Arborist Wood Chips As a Landscape Mulch” WSU Extension Fact Sheet FS160E .

Submitted by: Linda Chalker-Scott, October 12, 2015


PEST WATCH: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) causes damage to agricultural crops and is an annoyance to homeowners.
Beginning in September, BMSB adults aggregate in large masses often on the sides of homes and other buildings. They enter structures to avoid cold weather. While stink bugs are not known to harm people or cause damage to buildings, they can be quite distressing when large numbers of individuals enter households.

Brown mamorated stink bug on holly (Todd Murray)

Brown mamorated stink bug on holly (Todd Murray)

Sealing cracks, mending screens, and screening vents mechanically exclude BMSB adults from entering houses. When aggregations begin to form, regular vacuuming of BMSB adults has helped reduce the number entering houses.
If you suspect you have BMSBs in a new region of Washington State, please collect a sample in a crush-proof container, note the date and specific location, and place it in a freezer until you can take it to your local WSU Extension office or local Master Gardener clinic.

For more information on the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug see WSU’s Pest Watch: Brown Marmorated Stink Bug FS079E.

Submitted by: Todd Murray, October 5, 2015


Gardening in Washington State, Puyallup Research and Extension Center

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