Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2010
Regional Report

Continue Watering

It's still a month or so before the winter rains begin. Continue watering containers and permanent plantings, but because the days are shorter and the nights are cooler, you can reduce the amount of water you apply. Reset irrigation clocks and always check containers prior to watering.

Plant Cool Season Vegetables

This is your last chance to plant broccoli, cabbage and kale, carrots, cilantro, lettuce, onions, spinach and other cool season crops while the soil is still warm. Roots get off to a grand start if planted now. If you wait much longer, your new seedlings will just sit there. Make sure to offer protection from ravenous snails and slugs.

Purchase Spring Blooming Bulbs

The selection of spring blooming bulbs is fabulous right now at nurseries and garden centers. While the getting is good, grab new varieties that strike your fancy. Once home, place bulbs in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator for 4 - 6 weeks prior to planting. The soil temperature 6 inches below the surface should be below 60 degrees F prior to planting.

Discontinue Pruning and Shaping

No more pruning for a while at least. Pruning encourages new growth which will be nipped by frost later in the winter. Allow tender shrubs and trees to take a break from shaping until they go dormant for the winter. You can still remove dead, diseased or injured wood from plants.

Fall Lawn Care

Fall lawn care should include aeration and removal of thatch. Use a thatching rake or a metal bow rake to pull up as much of the dead undergrowth as possible. The thatch makes wonderful compost! Once as much thatch as possible has been removed, aerate the soil so that moisture and fertilizer can penetrate down to the roots. Fertilize with a balanced product to stimulate root growth after renovation is complete.

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