Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Plant Sweet Peas
Select a site in full sun with fast-draining soil to plant sweet pea seeds. Amend the soil with well-rotted manure, and plant the seeds deeply for strong stems and hardy plants. Once the seeds emerge, provide climbing support in the form of a trellis. Protect newly emerged seedlings from birds with netting or floating row covers. Once the plants are a few inches tall, remove the protective coverings
Plant Spring-Blooming Bulbs
Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, crocuses, anemones, lilies-of-the-valley, leucojum, and a multitude of other spring-blooming bulbs can be purchased and planted between November and January. Select a site in full sun with fast-draining soil. If gophers are a problem, plant bulbs in groups inside wire baskets.
Clean Up the Garden
Continue to rake up and remove spent fruits, vegetables, and fallen leaves. Compost everything that is not diseased. Uncomposted plant material that is left on the ground will harbor insect pests over the winter. A clean garden is a healthy garden. Leaves, grass clippings, small twigs, and the faded remains of your vegetable garden will eventually make fabulous compost. Your garden will thank you.
Feed the Birds
Keep bird feeders full and bird baths clean to attract migrating birds. Hungry travelers will appreciate a rest stop. Any premium wild bird mix will satisfy most birds. Place a large rock in a wide, shallow container filled with water to act as a bird bath. The smaller birds and some predatory insects will use the rock as a perch to drink.
It's not too late to remove the built-up layer of thatch from your lawn. Use a dethatching rake (available at garden supply stores) to allow water and nutrients to reach the roots on turf grass. As grass is mown, the fallen blades fall to the ground and build up a layer of dead material that is eventually impenetrable. By removing this layer, roots that have been starved for water and nutrients will grow deeper into the soil and use less water as they reach the natural moisture level. Toss the thatch into your new compost pile.