Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2011
Regional Report

Keep Sowing Through Thanksgiving!

Problems with seed germination may be due to old seed, soil that is too warm or has been allowed to dry out, or seeds that were sown either too deeply or not deeply enough.

Keep Seedbeds Moist

And shaded from hot afternoon sun until the seedlings develop two to four true leaves. After transplanting them, mulch the soil lightly, and add more in October and November for additional frost protection. Keep the mulch an inch away from the plant stems, however, for good air circulation and less potential for disease problems.

Grow Kale as Edible Cover Crop

When sowing cover crops for the fall and winter, consider edible ones. Kale and rocket (roquette, arugula) are full-flavored leafy vegetables that withstand freezing. Both germinate in cool weather and are welcome fresh greens for stir-fries and soups all winter long. In the spring, they can be easily turned under as "green manure" when preparing the soil for the main spring and summer crops.

Transplant Ornamentals

Transplant perennials, ground covers, shrubs, and vines while the soil and air temperatures are still warm to give them a full season's root development over those planted in the spring. Set them out in the cooler late afternoons or evenings, and water them in with a mild solution of a balanced fertilizer to promote new root growth and reduce transplant shock. Mulch and shade them lightly for the first week. Add more mulch in October and November for additional frost protection.

Give Roses a Last Pruning and Feeding

Prune, feed, and water roses for their last bloom cycle before going dormant. Hold off on severe pruning until plants are fully dormant in January. Continue to water them only in the mornings to lessen mildew and other wet-foliage-at-sunset-with-warm-evenings disease problems.

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