In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
September, 2005
Regional Report

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Provide midday shading from summer sun when germinating peas and other winter seedlings.

September's Gardening Delights

I love gardening in September. Cool mornings and evenings bracket midday warmth. The soil is still warm, a boon to seed germination. The prospect of crunchy, cool-season crops like lettuce, peas, broccoli, and cabbage is welcome after the summer's fleshy tomatoes, squash, and melons. After a month's escape from the heat indoors, working outdoors is again a pleasure. Even cleaning up the old garden becomes a welcome activity since it means getting the new one started.

Here're some tasks to get a jump-start on:
1. Collect, spread, and incorporate soil amendments, especially compost and manure, so they break down over the winter, enriching the soil for next year's gardens.

2. Sow or transplant two or three times the amount of vegetable seeds you would for spring harvest, as these overwintering crops will grow very slowly and you'll harvest only a leaf or two a week from each lettuce plant.

Veggies to sow include beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chervil, chives, collards, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce (in our hot climate, this is the best time for sowing and transplanting heading types), green onions, short-day bulb onions (like Grano, Granex, and Walla Walla), parsley (the flat-leaf type is more winter hardy than the curly one), parsnips, peas, white potatoes, radishes, spinach, and turnips.

3. Sow seeds for winter and spring blooms and edibles, especially edible peas and flowering sweet peas. This will encourage strong root and foliar development that will survive most frosts, thrive, and bear sooner in the spring.

Flowers to sow or transplant include ageratum, alyssum, asters, astilbe, baby's breath (gypsophila), bachelor's buttons, begonias, calendulas, campanulas, candytufts (iberis), carnations and pinks and sweet william (dianthus), chrysanthemums, clarkias (godetia), columbines (aquilegia), coralbells (heuchera), coreopsis, gloriosa daisies (rudbeckia), Shasta daisies, English daisies (bellis), delphiniums, forget-me-nots (myosotis), foxgloves, gaillardias, gerberas, geums, hollyhocks, impatiens, larkspur, linarias, lobelias, silver dollar or money plant (lunaria) nemesias, love-in-a-mist (nigella) pansies, penstemons, phlox, Iceland and Oriental and California poppies, primroses (primula), salvias, snapdragons, statice, stocks, sweet peas, verbena, and violas.

Several companies offer individual varieties and collections of California wildflowers that are grouped by color or geographic area or other characteristics such as drought resistance.


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