Now that fall is officially here, it’s time to plant and new crop of vegetables and flowers and to reseed or sod lawns, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly compost products made from organic material collected from more than 50 California cities including those in Santa Barbara County.
» Remove summer vegetables: Tomatoes and squash often produce well into fall, but other summer vegetables will have run their course by now. No need to continue caring for them.
Remove nonproducing summer plants and replace them with vegetables that thrive in fall. These include beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, parsley, peas, radish, spinach, potatoes, turnips, winter zucchini and celery. After a heaving workout in summer, your garden soil will need an infusion of compost before fall planting.
» Plant cool weather flowers: Remove summer annuals and plant flowers that do particularly well in fall. These include sweet peas, pansies, violas, primrose, calendula, chrysanthemums, cineraria, dianthus, delphiniums, Iceland poppies, nemesia and snapdragon.
» Plant wildflowers: Add a western seed mix of wildflowers to your garden. Sprinkle the seeds directly onto the soil by hand or with a seed spreader (for larger areas). Pat down slightly into moist soil (make sure the seeds are not buried). Water until the plants are at least 4 inches tall. Natural rainfall should provide plenty of water. Water as needed, however, if we experience drought conditions.
» Plant or shore up lawns: October is the perfect time of the year to replace a portion or an entire lawn whether by seed or sod. Well-suited lawn types for Southern California include tall fescue, Bermuda, St. Augustine, bluegrass and perennial ryegrass. Remove patches of crabgrass or other weeds and seed with a lawn seed that matches your lawn. When planting seed or sod use a top dressing for lawns. The top dressing material works its way down to the root zone and becomes humus for the turf.
» Plant a fall herb garden: Many herbs can be planted in fall including garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel and thyme. Once they finish their growing cycle, dry the leaves and use for cooking.
» Reduce watering: Gardeners can breathe easier when opening up their water bills in October. Unless hot Santa Ana winds are an issue this month, gardeners can reduce the amount of water for their lawn, garden, trees and shrubs. When watering, water deeply but not as often. Shut off water timers when it rains.
» Pick pumpkins: Pumpkins should be ready for picking in October. It will be time to harvest when the vines leading up to the pumpkins are dry and the pumpkin skin is firm. Leave about two inches of stem attached to the pumpkin when removing from the plant to keep the pumpkin from spoiling. Pumpkins and can stay fresh for months once picked.
— Diane Rumbaugh is a publicist representing Agromin.