Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2011
Regional Report

Coddle Camellias

Camellia sasanqua should have come into their bloom season. Keep the fallen petals raked up and the soil under the plants clean to prevent blossom blight, a fungus disease common to these hardy shrubs. If blossom blight does occur, treat with a dusting of sulfur and be diligent in your maintenance.

Adjust Timers

Readjust the timer on your irrigation clock for winter. Shorter, cooler days mean that plants aren't using as much water. Overwatering now will encourage fungus diseases and root damage. Depending on soil type and plant variety, watering once a week for 10 - 20 minutes should be adequate.

Stop Pruning!

Pruning, even if only pinching for shape, encourages new growth that will be susceptible to frost later in the season. Discontinue all pruning chores until the plants go dormant. Heavy pruning should be done during the dormant season. You may continue to remove dead, diseased or injured wood.

Purchase Spring Blooming Bulbs

The selection of spring blooming bulbs is fabulous right now. Nurseries and garden centers have a large selection of daffodils, tulips, narcissus, and others. While the getting is good, pick up a few new varieties that strike your fancy. Once home, place spring blooming bulbs in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator for 4 - 6 weeks prior to planting. Ideally, the soil temperature 6 inches below the surface should be below 60 degrees F prior to planting.

Plant Winter Vegetables

Plant broccoli, cabbage, 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.

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