Hands in the Dirt: MLT Gardening Tips for October 2021


Fall has come out of nowhere and now seems to be here to stay, with lots of rain and cooler days.

Take one of the rainy breaks to cut, rake, and generally dispose of anything past its prime, including tomatoes, squash plants, and greens. Now is the time to plant tulips, daffodils, crocuses and other spring-flowering bulbs. They are readily available now at garden centers. Once your bulbs are planted, keep your soil happy during the winter by mulching with wood chips, straw or leaves. Jute bags or cardboard can also help protect your soil from heavy winter rains.

Almost everything planted in the vegetable patch this month will be harvested in the spring. This includes garlic, onions and peas, even broad beans, which can count both as a cover crop and as a vegetable harvested in the spring! The only exception to the “spring harvest” rule are green vegetables, and fall varieties of lettuce and kale can grow quite well until the first frost.

Big changes are happening at BOG. A team of volunteers replaced the old raised beds with six new raised beds measuring 3 feet by 8 feet. The new beds are higher, which will prevent the naughty bunnies from demolishing our crops. The rain was falling from the roof above the patio directly into the old raised beds, and we were losing valuable soil every winter. The new beds have been installed 3 feet from the deck, which means there is no more soil loss and easy access to all sides of the beds. Many thanks to Dale and Helen Jeremiah, Rachel Stewart, John McGillie and Ian McFaron for their time and hard work.

About the BOG

The Ballinger Organic Garden is a volunteer-led effort to develop a community garden at Ballinger Park. The BOG, in partnership with MLT Recreation & Parks and the MLT Senior Center and funded by a grant from the MLT Community Foundation, is currently in “Phase 0” while larger construction activities (stream restoration and trail installation) are completed. Phase 0 involves the maintenance of the existing raised beds and a garden plot on the south side of the MLT Senior Center in Ballinger Park. Phase 1 will involve the installation of a larger garden with plots available for community members to maintain. Do you feel like volunteering, or have an idea of ​​what you want to see in the future garden? Please let us know.

To stay up to date with what’s happening at BOG, including what’s developing, working parties and events, follow us on Facebook Where Instagram.

– By Robyn Rice

Robyn Rice grew up in eastern Washington, pulling weeds and picking up rotten fruit as dreaded chores assigned by his master gardener father. Today, Robyn is a fisheries biologist for an environmental consulting firm and has been gardening in the Seattle area since 2010. Her scientific knowledge leads to endless research into the “right” way to do things, but her enthusiasm and her sense of adventure lead her to garden fearless because hey, what’s the worst that can happen?


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