October is a
busy planting month, with cooler temperatures making it easier for plants and
trees to take hold and thrive.
Tolerant Ground Cover: Ornamental grasses and a variety of flowering shrubs
and plants can be planted in October that will do well in wet as well as dry
months. They include trailing lantana and angelita daisy (both bloom all year
long), festuca boulder blue ornamental grass, rockrose and creeping Mahonia. Seek
out native plants such as California wild lilac and manzanita. All love hot,
dry climates and require little irrigation.
It's Herb Season: Hardy herbs that can be planted in
fall include garlic, parsley, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel and thyme. Basil
goes to flower in fall so harvest and dry the leaves and use them for winter
cooking. Consider adding these especially drought tolerant herbs: Coyote mint,
English thyme, Greek oregano, rosemary and sage.
If You're Keeping Your
Lawn: If you are still watering your
lawn, now is the time to aerate and add a layer of top dressing to the lawn. A
top dressing containing biochar will help reduce the amount of water you are
currently using on your lawn while working its way down into the lawn's root
system and provide nutrients.
Plant Cool Weather Vegetables: Many vegetable varieties flourish in
cooler weather. They include beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas,
radishes and spinach. A steady stream of ready-to-pick vegetables will be ready
in late November.
Cut Back on Watering: Unless we experience unusually strong
and prolonged hot Santa Ana winds, gardeners can reduce the amount of water for
their lawn, garden, trees and shrubs. The sun moves lower in the sky so it is
not as harsh on vegetation. Make sure water timers are shut off at least 48
hours after it rains (it's the law in most cities).
Harvest Pumpkins and Gourds: Pick pumpkins and gourds when the vines are dry and the rinds
are solid. Carefully cut the steams about two inches from the pumpkin. A longer
stem keeps the pumpkin fresher longer. If carving, keep pumpkin seeds for
eating. Separate the seeds from the pulp, wash, spread onto a cookie sheet and
sprinkle with salt or other seasoning. Cook at 375 degrees, turning
occasionally, until the seeds are brown on both sides.
Do a Garden Clean-Up: Fallen fruit and vegetables attract
pests and diseases. Before adding new vegetables, flowers or trees to your
garden, spend time removing plant debris and weeds.
Labels: fall garden, fall vegetables, ground cover, Southern California, what to plant in fall