Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2007
Regional Report

Sow Veggies For Winter Eating

Sow beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chervil, chives, collards, endive, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce (in our hot climate, this is the best time for sowing and transplanting heading types), green onions, short-day bulb onions (like Grano, Granex, and Walla Walla), parsley (the flat-leaf type is more winter-hardy than the curly one), parsnips, peas, white potatoes, radishes, spinach, and turnips. Sow or transplant two or three times the amount you would for spring harvest as these overwintering crops will grow moreslowly, and you'll harvest only a leaf or two a week from each lettuce plant.

Pamper Seeds

Problems with seed germination may be due to old seed, soil that is too warm or has been allowed to dry out, or seeds that were sown either too deeply or not deeply enough. Keep seedbeds moist and shaded from hot afternoon sun until the seedlings develop two to four true leaves.

Pinch Vines to Ripen Fruit

Pinch out new blossoms and growing tips of melons, winter squashes, and determinate tomatoes to force growth into the fruits that have already set. Any that set from now on won't ripen sufficiently before cool weather comes and you'll have lots of immature green tomatoes around Thanksgiving. Indeterminate cherry tomatoes, on the other hand, can be allowed to continue setting, as the little fruits ripen more quickly.

Get Flowering Shrubs Blooming

Switch to a 0-10-10 fertilizer for azaleas, camellias, gardenias, and rhododendrons to encourage formation of next spring's blossom buds. Increase the spring bloom size of azaleas, camellias, dahlias, and rhododendrons by removing half of the new flower buds. For extra-large camellia blooms, remove all but one bud per branch, leaving some further down on the bush for later bloom.

Plant Trees

Plant new trees while the soil is still warm to encourage the roots to get established before going dormant for the winter. Trim off dead wood and watersprouts (quickly growing upright shoots), but leave major pruning for January when the trees are dormant.

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