Weekend gardening outlook: breezy but beautiful

We're cooling off but drying out this weekend. It's a rare treat to have a dry weekend during our wettest month of the year. With several blustery storms this week-- it's a great time to clean up the yard. If you're not phased by the brisk north winds-- you could get up on the ladder, clear the gutters, or put up holiday lights.

Saturday will be a good day to rake those leaves that were shaken loose with the last few windy storms. This year, consider leaving those leaves on the lawn to decompose naturally. 

You can also put aside leaves in leaf-only compost pile. Called "leaf mold" it can be a key component in some of the best potting soils, but it can take up to two years for those leaves to decompose. Pure leaf mold, has a coarse crumb-like structure that works so well because it increases air content in the soil. Tree leaves are the best concentrators of calcium, magnesium, and trace minerals in the terrestrial world.

Beware of including leaves from the walnut family and horse chestnut. Those have chemicals that can inhibit seed germination of many plants-- so put those in the yard compost bin. A simple hoop of chicken or hog wire about three feet across stood up on end is all you need to get that project going. 

If you're looking for things to plant, garlic and onion family plants can go in the ground. And fava beans can be sown in early November too.

Overnight lows will be close to freezing the next few days in the South Sound, Foothillls, and near Hood Canal. If you've still got some sensitive plants in the ground or containers on your patio, bundle them up or cover them with a cloche.

-Tim Joyce