Get cold Quick! Harvest the last of the warm-season vegetables, including winter squash and pumpkins, tomatoes, and those few remaining beans. Store unmarred late-ripening apples, pears, and green tomatoes at about 40 degrees—the refrigerator crisper works, but a cool, dry, well-ventilated area will do just fine.
Lay foundations Create new garden beds without tilling or herbicides by sheet mulching: put down a half inch of cardboard or newspaper on top of grass and weeds, cover it with about a foot of mulch and organic compost, and let winter moisture break it down.
Think beyond rain Plant drought-tolerant shrubs and trees: manzanitas (Arctostaphylos), wild lilac (Ceanothus), and rock rose (Cistus), and trees like our native Pacific madrone and Oregon white oak. Winter rains cut down on the watering needed during plants’ first summer.
Bring on the bulbs Plant garlic and shallots to harvest next July, as well as spring-blooming flower bulbs like daffodils and tulips. Go native with the spire-like blue and white Camassia, the intricately marked Fritillaria, and the drought-tolerant Tritelaea.
For more gardening tips, visit Kate Bryant’s blog at portlandmonthlymag.com/plantwise.