October is when we see our first true days of autumn. In Southern California our mild Mediterranean climate makes it possible to plant all year-round but fall is one of the best times of the year to garden: the soil is still warm and the rainy season (such as it is here in Americas Finest Region) is near. As the temperatures cool working in the garden becomes even more pleasant. In fact, the only drawback is that as the days grow shorter and the shadows longer you'll find that it's dark long before you're ready to quit for the day.
October is the peak month for planting our cool-season flowers and vegetables (refer to Summary Planting Guide at bottom for suggestions). Cool-season plants thrive in our warm days and cool evenings and the soil stays warm which gets new plants off to a fast start. Although you won't be able to enjoy their color until next spring October is also a choice month for planting perennials. By planting them now, they will develop a strong root structure during our cool weather and then burst into glorious color in the spring.
Trees and shrubs: October - a great month to shop for trees and shrubs as they're showing their true colors at the nursery. Planting can take place now and over the next several months letting strong healthy roots develop over the winter.
Lawn care: In most areas lawn care should continue through October. The Law of Lawn Care - Keep mowing as long as your grass is growing....
Bermuda Lawn: If you have Bermuda grass and want a green lawn in winter (like our favorite golf course is doing this week – in fact, expect some "tee time" disruptions during October at numerous local courses) over seed Bermuda grass with annual winter ryegrass this fall. Cut the grass short and mulch it with composted manure or fine-sifted compost. Keep the ground damp until rye seeds sprout. Aerate lawns now while grass can recover easily; if you core aerate make cores 3 inches deep spaced about every 4 to 6 inches. Break up the cores and spread them around. If your lawn needs it thatch and follow with a fall or winter fertilizer. Over seed any bald patches or whole lawns as needed.
Watering: It's easy to forget about watering duties in the middle of fall but proper moisture now is key to your plants' successful survival over the colder winter months. Check the moisture of all plants especially those in dry sheltered areas such as under eaves and around tall evergreens.
Rake or otherwise gather all little fallen "things" - from leaves to grass clippings to spent plants and vegetables and either give the compost pile a good feeding or spade them directly into the ground. Exception: If your grass has been treated with herbicides it might be safer to compost than to blend into the soil. As an alternative to raking - if you have drifts of piled leaves mow over them in the grass to break them up and make a great brown-and-green composting combo.
Pest control: Slugs don't slow down as the weather gets cooler; in fact you'll likely find them at all life stages in October - from eggs to youngsters and adults. Take whatever measures you prefer to eliminate slugs. It's best to catch them at early stages to stop the reproduction cycle. Keep the ground raked and tidied to reduce their habitat.
Weeding: Keep staying ahead of weeds this month - they serve as homes for pests and bugs. Destroying them before they flower and seed will save you work in the future. Houseplants: Take geranium cuttings of 2 to 4 inches to root indoors. If you treat houseplants chemically - after treating be certain to keep them warm and away from direct sunlight. Fertilize houseplants now and they shouldn't need it again until March.
Plant for permanence: Fall is the best time to plant permanent additions to your landscape except for tender subtropical and bare root plants.
Cool-Season Lawns: Now is the best time to plant cool-season grasses like fescue, ryegrass and bluegrass. Cool-Season
Vegetables: Plant cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, lettuce and other greens (see Summary Planting Guide below for suggestions).
Cool-Season Flowers: Plant cool-season flowers. These include calendula, cineraria, dianthus, delphiniums, Iceland poppies, nemesia, pansies, snapdragon, stock, wild flowers (see Summary Planting Guide below for suggestions)..
Wild Flowers: For long-lasting color choose a western seed mix that has both annuals & perennials or make your own mix using your favorites. Good candidates for a wild flower mix include California poppies, larkspur, linaeria, clarkia, Chinese houses, godetia and gypsophila.
Bird of Paradise: Cut off dead leaves. After flowers fade pull out bloom stems. Small plants can be divided with a sharp knife. Left alone these plants will eventually make such large clumps that the only way to easily divide them is to use a chain saw and replant salvageable sections.
Daylilies: After evergreen daylilies have finished blooming renew plants by cutting back the leaves to 4 inches. Divide over-crowded daylilies this month.
Geraniums: To encourage re-growth during the winter cut back garden geraniums (Pelargonium hortorum) by half. Make straight cuts 1/4 to 1/2 inch above joints leaving several healthy leaves on all branches.
Roses: Early in the month feed roses for the last time this year. Give roses up to 1 inch of water twice a week unless it rains.
Sweet Peas: If you planted sweet peas last month thin them out and pinch them back to force branching.
Azaleas and Camellias: The fungus that causes petal blight in azaleas and camellias over-winters in fallen flowers, leaves, and old mulch. To decrease the chances of blight remove all the debris under the plants and apply new mulch.
Perennials, annuals, and bulbs: Be sure that new plantings and perennials which were divided and moved last month are kept watered if there is insufficient rainfall.
Shrubs and trees: Throughout the fall and winter months you can plant or transplant both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. During these months of dormancy you can do your shrub and tree moving with only minimal shock to the plants.
Fruits and veggies: Harvesting fruits and vegetables is the best part of growing them. After you have finished harvesting your summer vegetables you can plant a cover crop of clovers, cow peas, soybeans, or vetches for the purpose of plowing under next spring. These nitrogen producing plants will provide good organic matter and food for your garden crops next year as well as helping to control weeds over the winter.
Clean and oil your garden tools!: Place some sand and some oil in a large bucket then slide your garden tools in and out of the sand. This will do an excellent job of cleaning them as well as applying a light coat of oil to prevent rusting.
Clean your gutters and downspouts to remove fallen leaves and other debris. Plugged gutters can cause serious damage to your home as well as your garden.
The birds will soon begin their migrations. Give them a helping hand by providing them with some food for their long journey. No one likes to travel on an empty stomach and you may even persuade a few of them to stick around for the winter if they know they have a reliable food source!
Choose Sunny Planting Sites: When planning your fall garden remember that the angle of the sun changes from spring-summer to fall-winter. Areas of the garden that were in full sunlight during the summer may be in partial or full shade during the fall and winter.
Remove Old Fruit: This month remove all fallen fruit from around fruit trees and any fruit that has mummified on the trees. Such fruit will harbor over-winter pests and disease organisms.
Summarized Planting Guide:
Flowers From Seed - These can be planted anytime this month: African daisy, Alyssum, Bachelor button, Bells of Ireland, Calendula, California poppy, Candytuft, Canterbury bell, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Cineraria, Clarkia, Columbine, Delphinium, Forget-me-not, Foxglove, Gerbera daisy, Godetia, Hollyhock, Iceland poppy, Larkspur, Linum, Mignonette,Nicotiana, Pansy, Phlox, Pink, Scabiosa, Shasta daisy, Snapdragon, Stock, Sweet pea, Sweet William, Verbena, Viola, Wildflowers Flowers From Bedding Plants: African daisy, Alyssum, Calendula, English daisy, English primroses, Gerbera daisy, Iceland poppy, Pansy, Penstemon, Primula malacoides, Snapdragon, Stock, Viola
Vegetables: Beets, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Oriental greens, Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach, Sugar snap peas, Turnips.
Anderson's La Costa Nursery is Southern California's Most Unique Nursery. Anderson's La Costa is not your ordinary nursery visit - it is a truly unique garden experience. Browse more than 3000 kinds of plants including annuals, perennials, fruits and vegetables, trees, shrubs, orchids, cactus and succulents, houseplants, and water plants. Anderson's La Costa Nursery is located at: 400 La Costa Ave Encinitas, CA 92024 Tel: (760) 753-3153.You can also see all sorts of Special Offers and Discounts offered here at the Mulch .
If you have information like this for your region and would like to share it please let us know, we'll be sure to give you writing credit and link back to your website! Click here to contact us.