Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Sow Onions Now
Sowing bulb onion seed now will result in larger bulbs that will bolt less in early spring than store-bought sets, which are often stored improperly (mostly too warm for too long) while on display.
Plant Garlic Cloves
Garlic planted now will develop a strong root system over the winter, and leaf production can begin early in the spring, resulting in a large head next summer.
Fun-Colored Broccoli and Cauliflower
Just about any broccoli variety will do well in our area. Try "sprouting" kinds for lots of small heads. For brilliant chartreuse, pointed heads that taste milder than regular broccoli, try 'Romanesco,' a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. Other colored cauliflowers are purple and 'Cheddar' orange.
Trim roses after their last flush of blooms, but hold off on severe pruning until they're fully dormant, in January. Feed them with a no-nitrogen, high-phosphorus, high-potassium fertilizer to help them harden off.
Less Frequent Irrigation
Help overwintering plants harden off by changing your irrigation schedule. Cooler weather slows evaporation from the soil and transpiration from plant foliage, so irrigation is needed less often. So decrease the number of times--but not the length of time--you water. For example, water once every three weeks instead of once a week, but still water for half an hour each time. This change will still provide water to deep roots while allowing for longer periods for the soil to dry in between waterings, and it doesn't encourage new, frost-tender growth.