Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Dig and Store Summer-Blooming Bulbs
Tuberous begonias, dahlias, and other summer-blooming bulbs will rot in the ground if left over the winter. Make sure all warm-season bulbs have been safely tucked away. Store clean, dry bulbs between layers of newspaper in a cool, dry spot.
Plant Sugar Peas
What could be better than picking a sweet, crisp sugar pea and popping it right into your mouth? Cool-season crops can be planted now that the soil temperature is dropping. Peas, broccoli, cabbage, cilantro, and lettuce all benefit from short days and cool temperatures. Provide shelter for germinating pea plants, otherwise the birds will eat them even as they emerge from the ground. Netting, flash tape, or floating row covers will provide the peas with a few days to get up and growing! Once the vines are up, remove protective coverings and provide support in the form of a trellis or pole.
Rake and Clean Garden Beds
A clean garden is a healthy garden. Plant debris left on the ground is an invitation to overwintering insects and snails. Rake up and compost any fallen foliage or fruits.
Last Chance to Plant Spring-Blooming Bulbs!
Get those daffodils and tulips in the ground now. Most bulbs require at least six to eight weeks of chilling prior to planting to ensure long, strong stems. Have you ever seen those bulb flowers that bloom close to the ground? They are the ones that didn't get their fair share of time in the refrigerator. However, by planting now you can let the cold winter weather to do the chilling for you. If nothing else, dig a long trench and plant the bulbs pointed end up.
Look for Bare-Root Bargains
Bare-root plants will begin arriving at nurseries and garden centers any day now. This is by far the least expensive way to add variety to your garden. Fruit trees, berries, vines, asparagus, and roses are all examples of plants that go dormant and can be shipped in plastic bags rather than in potting soil. Bare-root plants adapt well to native soils.