Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Shorter days mean plants are using less water. Reduce the watering time on automatic irrigation clocks. Check potted plants before watering. The soil should be dry to the touch 1 inch below the surface prior to watering.
Clean Vegetable Beds
Pull out vegetable crops that have finished for the season. Spent squash, beans, tomatoes, and corn plants can be pulled and tossed into the compost pile now. Rake and clean the beds and amend soil if you will be planting a winter garden. Organic compost will enhance and enrich any soil. Work compost into the top 8 inches of soil and allow the bed to rest under a cover of mulch for a week or so prior to planting.
Protect Row Crops
Place floating row covers over new row crops to protect young plants from hungry birds and insect pests. Mylar flash tape or netting will also work to prevent birds from eating seedlings, however the row covers act like a greenhouse and will get your plants off to a good start.
Cut Back Rangy Fuchsias
My fuchsia is looking really ratty now. Cut back leggy branches almost to the main stems for one more flush of growth before cold weather sets in. No fertilizer please, new growth is susceptible to frost damage.
Let Roses Form Hips
If your roses are still blooming furiously, stop removing the faded flowers and allow them to go to hips. This will signal the plant to go dormant. No more fertilizer please, cut down on water, and keep watch for signs of fungus disease. Remove and destroy any foliage that shows rust, powdery mildew, or black spot. Rake and clean the soil under the plants.