Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2007
Regional Report

Plant Now for Overwintering Harvests

Plants that have developed deep root systems and mature leaves are more tolerant of the cold. When these plants are 3 or 4 inches in size before the first hard frost, they're mature enough to be harvested throughout the fall, winter, and early spring. These will bolt at the first real warmth of early spring, though, so they can't be counted on to provide a crop after that. But by then you'll have made the first spring plantings so the gap between harvests won't be too long.

Sow Edible Cover Crops

When sowing cover crops for the fall and winter, consider edible ones. Kale and rocket (roquette, arugula) are full-flavored leafy vegetables that withstand freezing. Both germinate in cool weather and are welcome fresh greens for stir-fries and soups all winter long. In the spring, they can be easily turned under as green manure when preparing the soil for the main spring and summer crops.

Fertilize Citrus

Feed citrus for the last time this year, and water trees less as the weather cools and the rains (hopefully) take over. Cupped, wilted, or falling leaves signal moisture stress from hot winds, which can occur even when the soil is damp. Provide lath, shade cloth, or other semi-open material for protection. Pale green new citrus leaves may need a dose of liquid chelated iron or a solution of fish emulsion and kelp.

Plant New Flowers For Overwintering Color

Sow or transplant ageratums, alyssum, asters, astilbe, baby blue eyes, baby's breath (gypsophila), bachelor's buttons, begonias, calendulas, campanulas, candytuft, carnations, chrysanthemums, clarkias, columbines, coralbells, coreopsis, gloriosa daisies, black-eyed Susans, Shasta daisies, English daisies, delphiniums, forget-me-nots, foxgloves, gaillardias, gerberas, geums, hollyhocks, impatiens, larkspur, linarias, lobelias, lunarias, nemesias, nigella, pansies, penstemons, phlox, Iceland and Oriental and California poppies, primroses, salvias, snapdragons, statice, stocks, sweet peas, verbena, and violas.

Prune Roses One Last Time

This is the last month to prune roses and feed them for their last bloom cycle before going dormant. Hold off on severe pruning until plants are fully dormant in January. Feed plants lightly and water. Continue to water them only in the mornings to lessen mildew and other disease problems.

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