Vol. 8, No. 4

Fall is Around the Corner

August marks our last, full, official month of summer although we often have warmth through September and, beyond. This is the time to enjoy the still-long days while beginning to plan for the season to come. Fall is the best time to rejuvenate your lawn, fertilize if needed, and even plant trees and shrubs because once the rains roll in, extra watering is not needed.

August is also a great time to get to a farmers market for fresh-Washington-grown fruit and veggies, take a hike to a waterfall, lay in a hammock, and watch ladybugs in your yard!

Emergency Preparedness

September is National Preparedness Month and being prepared for an emergency in Thurston County is important. Our area is likely to experience earthquakes, mudslides, flooding, and winter storms. Now is a great time to put together a disaster supplies kit and make a household plan for what to do in case of an emergency.

Build a Kit

A disaster supplies kit includes items that your household (including pets) may need in the event of an emergency. It is recommended to have enough supplies to survive on your own for at least several days and up to two weeks. Some items to include in the kit are water, food, prescription medications, and a first aid kit. For a full list of supplies and how to cost-effectively build your disaster supplies kit, visit ready.gov/kit. If you already have a kit prepared, now is a good time to review the contents, especially food and water, because these items have expiration dates. Replenish any items so the kit is ready if needed.

Make a Plan

It is important to make a plan for the members of your household (including pets) in case of an emergency. Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency can make all the difference in the health and safety of your household members. Important topics to discuss include receiving emergency alerts and warnings, evacuation routes, sheltering, safety skills, and how to communicate if you become separated from your household members. Be sure to tailor the plan to the specific needs of your household, such as for children, older adults, or household members with disabilities. Visit ready.gov/plan for guidance on how to make a plan and be prepared in case of an emergency.

Now is also a good time to make sure any potentially hazardous household materials are stored properly, because these items can get into our water and air in the case of a disaster (such as a flood). Take unwanted pesticides, fertilizers, fuel, motor oil, cleaners, and other household hazardous products to HazoHouse located at 2420 Hogum Bay Road NE in Lacey for free, safe disposal. It is also important to make sure any prescription medications are stored in a safe, non-visible location. Take unused or unwanted medications for free disposal at one of these convenient locations.

The Thurston County Emergency Management team will host a Thurston County Preparedness Expo on September 23, 2023. For more details, visit the event webpage.

Planning for Winter Flowers

We are so lucky to live in an area where we can have flowers most of the year. Now’s the time to think about what to plant and where so in the less-abundant seasons, there are still lovely plants to admire.

As always, when it comes to specific plants, know what conditions they will thrive in, and plant in the areas where they can get some sun and the soil will provide drainage in the soggy season sure to come. Container gardens can be a way around soggy soils and can be placed near entry points to provide winter cheer. Most winter flowers won’t need additional water but all of them will do well in the most sun that you can offer!

Some of our favorite winter-flowering plants include flowering kale and cabbage (bred for color, not taste!) witch hazel, heathers, and the fragrance of the returning spring, winter daphne.

Fertilize Just Once a Year

Different folks have different ideas for the role that grass plays in their landscape. For some, lawns are simply there, a place to throw a ball or set up a chair. Lawns can serve as pathways between plantings, taking on the role of a soft walkway. Some folks want a playground for kids and pets, and for some, the lawn is a lush centerpiece of the yard. The role and importance of your lawn will determine the number of fertilizer applications needed throughout the year to achieve those goals.

Every lawn will benefit from grass clippings left on the lawn after mowing. This is called mulch mowing and while there are lawn mowers designed to do this by finely chopping the clippings and blowing them underneath the lawn’s surface, any lawn mower can mulch mow by simply removing the bag and letting the grass clippings lay where they fall.

Simple, grassy pathways don’t need much additional fertilizing, just mulch mow and go!

Playgrounds and lawns that are heavily used by people and pets may need one or two fertilizer applications each year to thrive, depending on the grass mix planted, amount of organic matter in the soil, and whether or not the soil is compacted.

Lawns that are the centerpieces of the yard may need two or three fertilizer applications each year in addition to a steady diet of grass clippings. They will benefit from regular aeration, usually once every 3-5 years with the addition of a thin layer of compost to add organic matter to the soil. Because centerpieces are often kept green and lush all summer long, they don’t go into dormancy like many grasses and will require extra care in the form of watering, fertilizing, and frequent mowing.

September is the best month to fertilize. For higher maintenance lawns, fertilize again in May and for the most perfect lawn on the street, fertilize again in July.

The most important part about fertilizing is choosing a slow-release fertilizer that doesn’t contain any bug or weed killers. Slow-release means that at least half of the available nitrogen can’t be dissolved in water and will be used over time by the plant’s roots. You’ll need to read the fine print on the back of the fertilizer bag to know if it’s slow-release. The numbers on the front of the bag represent the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (N-P-K) available in the fertilizer. The first number is the amount of available nitrogen, and the back of the bag should state the amount of nitrogen that is water insoluble. For example, if the amount of nitrogen is 8%, at least 4% needs to be water insoluble for that fertilizer to be considered slow-release. Slow-release fertilizers are often organic and contain minerals that feed the soil and won’t run off into the nearest lake, river, or stream!

The GO Green Yard Care program is ready to help you create the best lawn for your family’s needs, whether a lush centerpiece, a native plant showcase, or an eco-lawn that requires very little fertilizer at all. For more fertilizer tips and tricks, check out our Common Sense Gardening Guide to Fertilizing.

Q: What’s the safest way to store household cleaning and yard care products? 

A: Any household product for indoor or outdoor use is considered hazardous it if contains one of the following signal words on the label:


Household hazardous products should be stored in their original container and placed in a second leakproof container with a lid, such as a storage tote, to prevent spills. Also be sure to keep household hazardous products out of the reach of children and pets. Next month is National Preparedness Month, so now is a good time to make sure your household hazardous products are stored properly, to keep them contained in the event of a disaster (such as a flood). Dispose of any unwanted household hazardous products for free at HazoHouse located at 2420 Hogum Bay Road NE in Lacey.

Deer in the Landscape

People who lovingly care for their yards and gardens tend to be some of the kindest people you’ll meet UNTIL … the deer that seem wild and romantic when seen on a forested hike have the ABSOLUTE NERVE to nibble down your prized peonies, trample your highly anticipated tulips or worst-yet, devour your carefully tended salad greens, green beans, and blueberries!

Of course, eight-foot-tall fences work great to deter deer but are costly and time-consuming to build and maintain. There are repellants and other tools that can at least slow them down and even the classic soap (Irish Spring, they say) hanging in the breeze can work (for a little while). The least-invasive way to deal with deer is to plant plants that they are less attracted to like daffodils and fragrant herbs like lavender and sage and protect the plants that they love like, well, seemingly everything else! To protect vegetables growing in raised garden beds, floating row cover or gardening mesh placed securely over the beds may be effective.

This sweet article discusses the benefits of deer in the landscape and how to live with them.

This list of deer-resistant-plants tend to do well in our area. Here are more tips and tricks for gardening to deter deer. GOOD LUCK!

Connect to Farmers

Olympia Farmers Market

Thursday-Sunday, April-October

10:00am - 3:00pm

700 Capitol Way N

Olympia, WA 98501

(360) 352-9096


West Olympia Farmers Market

Saturdays, May 6-September 30

10:00am - 3:00pm

1919 Harrison Ave NW

Olympia, WA 98502


Tenino Farmers Market

Saturdays, May 6-September 30

10:00am - 3:00pm

213 Sussex Ave

Tenino, WA 98589

(360) 701-4835


Tumwater Farmers Market

Sundays, May-September

11:00am - 3:00pm

237 Dennis St SE

Tumwater, WA 98501

(360) 888-2919


Yelm Farmers Market

Saturdays, May 27-September 30

10:00am - 3:00pm

The Yelm Community Center               

301 Second St SE

Yelm, WA 98597

(360) 522-8939


Community Events

Check these great local calendars for up-to-date information about what's coming up.

Thurston Conservation District

Thurston Talk

Experience Olympia Calendar of Events

Stream Team Calendar


City of Lacey Arts and Events

City of Tumwater Special Events

City of Tenino Community Recreation Page