• September is Still Growing Season for Southern Calif. Gardens
    Friday, August 26, 2011 at

  • Typically warm Septembers in Southern California mean there is still plenty of growing left to be done in Southern California gardens.

    Plant More Flowers: Plant flowers for fall and winter blooms. Plants that do particularly well in Southern California's warm fall weather include chrysanthemums, sweet peas, snapdragons and asters. If planting from seed, keep seedbeds moist and shaded from hot afternoon sun until seedlings develop two to four leaves.

    Prune hedges and shrubs: After a summer of growth, hedges and shrubs are starting to look scraggly. Prune wayward stems to improve looks and prompt new growth before winter.

    Continue Your Vegetable Garden: Some vegetables enjoy fall and winter weather. Plant these vegetables now for a late winter or early spring harvest: peas, fava beans, kale, leeks beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, radish, carrots, celery and winter zucchini.

    Plant Rabbit-Proof Flowers: Rabbits and other small animals can quickly make a feast out of your flowerbed. If rabbits are a problem in your area, try planting flowers that rabbits usually avoid (although rabbits can eat just about anything): daffodils, hellebore, iris, lamb's ear and yarrow.

    Lawn Care: Lawns are still growing in September and October, especially cool season grass such as fescues. Mow weekly. Also, consider aerification (coring) with an aerator. Aerators can be rented at equipment rental shops. Coring allows for better water and nutrition penetration.

    Time to Plant Garlic:  For garlic lovers, there is nothing better than the homegrown variety. Now is the time to plant garlic. Break bulbs into individual cloves. Keep the skin attached. Plant the cloves with their pointy end up in about two inches of soil. Space them four to six inches apart. Make sure they get plenty of sun. The cloves will grow into mature bulbs early next summer.

    Don't Forget to Mulch: As with summer gardens, fall gardens need mulch. Put a two-inch layer of organic mulch around your freshly planted garden; add to existing flowerbeds and around trees and shrubs. Mulch will keep weeds in check while holding in moisture and warmth.

    Strengthen Pumpkins and Melons: Pinch off new blossoms on vines that already contain melons, pumpkins or squash. This will help existing fruit to grow strong and mature on time.

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