Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2006
Regional Report

Reduce Watering

The days are growing shorter and cooler. Your plants don't need nearly as much water as they did when they were actively growing earlier in the season. Adjust the time on automatic irrigation clocks accordingly.

Clean Vegetable Gardens

Pick up fallen fruits, such as tomatoes, which can invite trouble for next year's crop. Keep squash plants harvested to prolong production and prevent insect infestation. Continue watering pumpkins until the stem end withers.

Sow Wildflowers

Now is the ideal time to plant wildflowers from seed. Clear the ground of weeds before planting to avoid competition. Scratch the surface of the soil so that tiny roots can get a foothold after they germinate. After preparing the soil, scatter seeds over the surface, then just barely cover them with fresh potting soil. Water gently to settle the seed in place. Once winter rains begin, stop watering.

Shop for Winter-Blooming Annuals

It's time to set out the colorful winter annuals; pansies, calendula, stock, and cineraria thrive in cool weather. Don't forget to put some nemesia in hanging pots. It will reward you with blazing color when you need it most during the dead of winter.

Thin Camellia Buds

Camellia sasanqua should be starting to bloom, but to get the largest blossoms from C. japonica and C. reticulata, thin the buds to one or two per stem. Keep the soil beneath the plants raked and clean to prevent blossom blight.

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