Fall Garden Tips

Gardening Tips provided by the Alameda County Master Gardeners

Fall moving into Winter: These months complete the summer harvest but are the best time to get the garden ready for spring.


  • The summer harvest continues but the end is in sight. As you harvest, clean up all debris; it hides bugs and diseases.
  • Continue to care for cool season vegetables and flowers planted in September.
  • Cole crops, lettuce, green onions, potatoes, peas, etc. can still be planted but will probably not fruit until the spring.
  • Ditto for cool season annuals unless already blooming (try 4-inch pots).
  • Spring bulbs (daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, etc.) can be planted this month and next. Tulips must first be chilled before planting.
  • Plant garlic and shallots after October 15 to harvest next summer.
  • Plant cover crops (also called green manure or compost crops) such as fava beans
  • As you pull up old crops and rake up leaves, compost, compost, compost. You’ll need the finished compost in the spring.
  • Fall is a great planting time for perennials and California Natives in our climate. Cut back and divide leggy perennials or plant new ones. Plant shrubs and trees.
  • As plants slow down, stop fertilizing. Water as necessary and consider turning off irrigation systems.


  • All of the October tasks can be done in November. Generally, it is better to plant earlier rather than later. It is best for plants to establish a good root system before the weather turns cold and wet.
  • Continue to add plant residues and weeds to your compost. Turn your compost pile to keep it aerated.  Cover the pile before heavy rains – you want it to be as wet as a wrung-out sponge.
  • As plants slow down, stop fertilizing. Water if necessary.
  • Spray dormant, deciduous fruit trees, roses and berry bushes with a dormant oil spray.

For more tips and information on Eastbay gardening go to http://acmg.ucdavis.edu/