Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Rake and Compost Fallen Leaves
Don't throw those fallen leaves in the trash -- this is the ideal time to start a compost pile. Mix raked leaves with grass cuttings, stir often, and reap the rewards of your own homemade compost.
Plant garlic now for harvest next June. Purchase whole heads of garlic and separate into individual cloves. Plant cloves in rows 6 inches apart and 2 inches deep with the pointed ends up. Water to settle soil. Garlic cloves also can be grown on the windowsill in water l(like avocado seeds) and harvested for garlic chives, which are excellent in salads and on egg dishes.
Sow Sweet Peas
If you have a sunny spot in your garden, plant sweet pea seeds now for spring bloom. Soak seeds overnight to soften hard seed coats and increase germination. Plant in rich soil in full sun.
Plant Cool-Season Annuals and Perennials
Plant calendulas, nemesia, pansies, primulas, schizanthus, snapdragons, stocks, and violas while the soil is still warm. All these plants can be grown in containers as well as in garden beds. Fertilize with half-strength balanced fertilizer every two weeks after you see new growth.
Cut Back on Watering Houseplants
Fall is the time to allow houseplants to take a rest. Tropical plants in nature have a wet season and a dry season. Winter is usually the time they go slightly dormant. Allow plants to dry between watering, and increase humidity by placing gravel-filled saucers under the pot. No fertilizer until March. Keep leaves dusted so plants can photosynthesize and to prevent spider mite infestations.