Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2009
Regional Report

Renew Garden Beds

The soil is still warm so you have a few weeks to plant a crop of winter vegetables, annuals or plant from seed. Remove weeds and amend the soil with organic compost or soil conditioner prior to planting with cool-season crops. Water new plantings until winter rains begin.

Groom Perennial Plants

Most perennial plants will be starting to grow new foliage from the bottom now. Remove faded growth, open the soil near the base of the plant with a cultivating fork and mulch with organic compost to promote new growth. Lobelia cardinalis, eryngium, astilbe, dicentra, lupine and aquilegia are plants that will grow again from the root and benefit from grooming.

Groom Ferns

Remove faded fronds from ornamental ferns to encourage new growth. Top dress surrounding soil with organic compost. Dig and divide if the clump has grown too large for its container. Fertilize with a slow-release balanced product. As a final step, wash the plants to dislodge insect pests and accumulated dust and dirt.

Continue Fertilizing Cymbidium Orchids

Cymbidium orchids should be setting spikes now. Fertilize with a bloom-enhancing product such as 0-10-10 or 15-30-15. Watch for hungry slugs and snails and hand pick as necessary. The foliage should ideally yellow-green in color. Dark green means that the plants are not receiving enough sunlight.

Condition Clay Soil

Lay down a 4- to 6-inch layer of compost on top of compacted clay soil. Use a spading fork to work the amendment into the soil. If the soil is too difficult to work, simply plunge the tines of the fork into the soil as deeply as possible and let the winter rain soak the nutrients in. Work the amendment into the soil after it becomes moist.

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