Just when your
summer garden's best days are behind it, October comes along and a new planting
season begins in southern California.
Cooler Weather Means Less Stress on New
Plants: While Santa Ana
winds can still bring hot spells in October, average temperatures are generally
mild--in the high 70s. The soil is warm so it is perfect for developing new
root systems. Less daylight hours means less water evaporation so less watering.
And who knows? It may even rain in October.
Prepare The Soil For Your Fall Garden: Remove any remaining summer vegetables
that have stopped producing and weeds that may be sprouting. Turn over the
soil, being careful not to dig too deep. Add organic soil amendments to give
your fall garden a fresh start. Make sure you select the soil amendment that's
right for your soil. Soil tends to be clay (slow draining) or sandy (quick to
erode). Amendments can provide the proper balance.
Plan Your Fall Garden: Buy and plant six packs of seasonal
vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, peas, spinach,
Brussels sprouts, lettuce and rutabaga.
Add Trees, Shrubs And Groundcover: Just about all types of trees, shrubs
and groundcovers do best when planted in fall. The exception is citrus trees.
Ice plant does well as a groundcover on hillsides and does not require much
water. Lantana is another drought-tolerant groundcover with almost year-round
flowers that come in a variety of colors. Other groundcover to plant now
include verbena, purple sage and mountain lilac.
Keep Critters Away: Rabbits, ground squirrels, gophers,
opossum and raccoons are just some of the animals that can feast on fall
vegetables. Keeping these animals away from gardens is just as important in
fall as it is in summer. Depending on the vegetable plant, consider lining your
garden bed bottoms and
sides with rust-resistant chicken wire or hardware cloth to keep gophers from
digging up roots. Rabbits love broccoli and leafy greens. Surround your garden
with chicken wire or other barrier high enough so rabbits and other animals
If you are still watering your lawn, it might as well look good. October
is the time of the year for lawn repair. If your lawn suffers from patches of
crabgrass, remove the area and seed with a lawn seed that matches your lawn. Consider
changing over to more drought tolerant grass such as Bermuda, St. Augustine and
zoysia. When planting from seed, use topper mix to help keep the seeds moist
and at their optimum for growing.
Plant Cool Weather Flowers: Flowers that do particularly well in
fall include sweet peas, pansies, violas, primrose, calendula, chrysanthemums,
cineraria, dianthus, delphiniums, Iceland poppies, nemesia, snapdragon and wild
flowers. Wildflowers that thrive in southern California and can be planted now
are California poppies, larkspur, linaria and gypsophila.
Labels: fall garden, fall lawn care, fall vegetables, Southern California, what to plant in fall