In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Statuesque, dried, breadseed poppy pods become salt shakers for resowing seeds.
Fall So Soon?
Most of August resembled fall weather, with foggy mornings, not-so-hot days, and cool evenings. Although I never needed to put on a sweatshirt to go out into the garden, my evening forays required long-sleeved shirts against the breezy chill as well as to protect against our nasty, potentially West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes .
September is the time to sow and transplant just about everything for fall and overwintering harvests. Start with beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chervil, chives, collards, endive, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, green onions, short-day bulb onions (like Grano, Granex, and Walla Walla), parsley (the flat-leaf type is more winter hardy than the curly one), parsnips, peas, white potatoes, radishes, spinach, and turnips.
Sow or transplant two or three times the amount you would for spring harvest, as these overwintering crops will grow very slowly, and you'll harvest only a leaf or two a week from each plant.
Plants that have developed deep root systems and mature leaves are more tolerant to the cold. When these plants are 3 or 4 inches in size before the first hard frost, they're mature enough to be harvested throughout the fall, winter, and early spring. However, these will bolt at the first real warmth of early spring, so they can't be counted on to provide a crop after that. By then you'll have made the first spring plantings, so the gap between harvests won't be too long.
For flowers through the winter, sow or transplant ageratum, alyssum, asters, astilbe, baby blue eyes, baby's breath (gypsophila), bachelor's buttons, begonias, black-eyed Susans, calendulas, campanulas, candytuft, carnations (dianthus, pinks, sweet williams), chrysanthemums, clarkias, columbines, coralbells, coreopsis, Shasta daisies, English daisies, delphiniums, forget-me-nots, foxgloves, gaillardias, gerberas, geums, hollyhocks, impatiens, larkspur, linarias, lobelias, lunarias, nemesias, nigella, pansies, penstemons, phlox, Iceland and Oriental and California poppies, primroses, salvias, snapdragons, statice, stocks, sweet peas, verbena, and violas.
Keep seedbeds moist and shaded from hot afternoon sun until the seedlings develop two to four true leaves. After transplanting them, mulch the soil lightly and add more mulch in October and November for additional frost protection. Keep the mulch an inch away from the plant stems, however, for good air circulation and to reduce potential for disease problems.
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