Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2009
Regional Report

Plant Cole Crops A Bit Deeply

Plant cole crops up to the first set of leaves. They won't develop roots along their stems like tomatoes do, but this will give them more stability so they're not so leggy and won't flop over so easily.

Dry Your Own Flowers

Dry flowers for arrangements. The easiest to dry are baby's breath, bachelor's button, bells of Ireland, lavender, scabiosa, statice, strawflower, and yarrow. All but the bells of Ireland are best air-dried: tie a few stems into a loose bunch, and hang it up, flower heads down, in a cool, dark, dry place for several weeks. The exception is bells of Ireland -- stand these upright in a container with a half-inch of water; flowers will dry as the water evaporates.

Subtropical Fruit Overwinter Feeding

Feed subtropicals like citrus and avocados with a fertilizer containing high levels of phosphorus and potassium but no nitrogen to help them become cold-hardy. Keep them watered, though, until the rains take over.

Repotted Herbs

After dividing and repotting established herbs for overwintering indoors, leave the newly potted sections in a lightly shaded place for three weeks, and then move them indoors to a cool spot with bright light. This will allow them time to acclimate to higher indoor temperatures and lower humidity before it's too cold outdoors to make the change without shock.

Lawn Reseeding

You can still seed new lawns or reseed thin spots in established ones. For good germination, water newly-seeded lawns two or three times a day for the first two weeks. For another two weeks, water once a day. Then, change to watering only three times a week but for longer periods. You want the moisture to reach two to three inches down so the roots grow deeply into the well-prepared seedbed. When the grass gets bushy and about 3 inches tall -- about a month after sowing -- the lawn is ready for its first mowing. Allow the soil to become firm and fairly dry before mowing, however, to avoid compressing the new lawn with mower wheels and your footsteps.

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