Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Plant winter-blooming annuals such as pansies, stock, calendula, primrose, and Iceland poppies while the soil is still warm. Planting now gets your winter garden off to a roaring start. Temporarily protect new plantings from heat by covering them with floating row covers or tents made of newspaper.
Divide your perennial plants now. Increase your stock of summer-blooming perennials by digging them from the soil, removing all but a few inches of the top growth, dividing the rootball into several pieces, each containing some foliage and root, then replanting in either garden soil or containers. Water immediately after planting to settle roots.
Apply Beneficial Nematodes
If raccoons, moles, and skunks are tearing up your lawn at night, chances are that these hungry nocturnal creatures are looking for tasty grubs just below the surface. Left untreated, grubs emerge in the spring as Japanese beetles or other destructive insects. Lift a section of turf with a knife to check for infestation. If there are more than two grubs in a 4 inch square area, treat the entire lawn by spraying with beneficial nematodes.
Apply Less Water
Slow down your watering schedule. Shorter days mean that plants don\'t use as much water, but since plenty of hot weather is still left between now and the middle of October, make sure that shrubs and trees have adequate water to get them through the end of the growing season. When watering, water deeply.
Plant Winter Crops
Plant fall and winter vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce, cilantro, carrots, kale, cabbage, and beets can be planted from seed directly into prepared beds. Protect seedlings from hungry snails and slugs by surrounding them with a ring of diatomaceous earth, sharp sand, or fireplace ashes. Replace these barriers daily if the evening dew is heavy.