With forecasts of near normal rainfall in November, Southern California gardeners have the opportunity to plant fall gardens now and let Mother Nature do the watering, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly soil products made from organic material collected from more than 50 California cities including those in Santa Barbara County.
Finish planting cool season vegetables: If you didn’t get a chance to plant all your cool season vegetables in October, you still have time to plant in November. Some vegetables grow better in fall and winter than in spring and summer. These vegetables include broccoli, beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, kale, peas, Swiss chard, lentils, garbanzos and radishes.
Plant trees: Fall’s cool nights, mild days and moderate rainfall enable newly planted trees to become established much easier than if planted in summer. Planting these trees in fall helps them grow stronger in spring and summer. Select a planting location that is best suited for the tree type, taking into account the tree’s rate of growth, root configuration, leaf type (evergreen or deciduous), tree shape, and ultimate height and width at maturity. The site should get enough sun and be easy to irrigate. Considering these issues before planting will avoid future problems (i.e. roots lifting patios or walkways, leaves blowing into pools, overgrown trees blocking sunlight).
Cut back on watering: Less daylight in fall means your garden and trees need less watering. Adjust irrigation timers accordingly. Reduce frequency but reduce the number of minutes you water. Trees and shrubs still need deep watering to promote healthy roots. Place a layer of mulch around your garden to hold moisture in and prevent soil erosion during rainy periods.
Prepare lawns for winter: Lawns often look “tired” in winter. To keep them looking their best, first, mow your lawn so grass blades are about 1 inch high. Next, scatter grass seed over the lawn followed by a light covering of soil amendment. Water thoroughly for several weeks until new grass takes hold. Water as needed. Rake falling leaves from the lawn as leaves can impede lawn growth.
Spruce up your flower garden: A flower-packed garden isn’t just for spring and summer. A multicolored flower garden can be had during fall and winter by planting cool-season flowers such as pansies, calendula, candytuft, foxgloves, snapdragons, stock, sweet peas and sweet alyssum.
Prune evergreens: After a summer growing season, juniper, pine, spruce and other evergreens often feature unwanted limbs and branches by fall. Now is the time to trim and reshape these trees. Make sure to prune dead or damaged limbs on all types of trees.
Buy chrysanthemums in bloom: Chrysanthemums brighten any flowerbed. Buy them already in bloom. The blooms will last several weeks. Once they finished blooming, cut back the plants to a few inches above the ground. They will begin to grow again in spring and bloom in July.
— Diane Rumbaugh is a publicist representing Agromin.