Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
October, 2004
Regional Report

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Dig and transplant baby strawberry plants, or let them establish themselves in their own pots before detaching them from the mother plants.

Time to Sow

After our sudden summer heat at the end of September, we can finally calm down as our garden cools down. Two weeks after replenishing beds with compost and manure, we can plant seeds and transplants for the veggies that'll keep us eating well through the spring, and the posies that'll keep us chipper through the winter gloom and drizzle.

Veggies for Overwintering
Sow fava beans, celery, chard, chives, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce (especially romaine types and small-heading bibb and buttercrunch types, which overwinter well with minimal damage from light frosts), green and long-day bulb onions (which will mature during the lengthening days of next spring and early summer), parsley, peas, radishes, spinach (especially savoy types for more frost resistance), and shallots.

Sowing bulb onion seed now will result in larger bulbs that will bolt less in early spring than store-bought sets, which are often stored improperly (mostly too warm for too long) while on display. Also transplant artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, established herbs, and rhubarb. All these will mature before the first hard frost and can be overwintered with only minor damage to varieties with more delicate foliage.

Just about any broccoli variety will do well in our area. Try sprouting kinds for lots of small heads. For brilliant chartreuse, pointed heads that taste milder than regular broccoli, try 'Romanesco', a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.

Encouraging Bigger Strawberries
Renovate strawberry beds away from where potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers have grown within the last three years. Incorporate rock fertilizers, compost, and cottonseed meal. Water well. After two to four weeks transplant strawberries 1 foot apart so the crown is just above the soil level. Strong roots will develop over the winter, and spring warmth will encourage fast growth and large berries.

Flowers Galore
Sow or transplant ageratums, alyssum, bachelor's buttons, calendulas, campanulas, candytuft, chrysanthemums, clarkias, columbines, coralbells, coreopsis, African daisies (Arctotis, Gazania), delphiniums, dianthus, forget-me-nots, four-o-clocks, foxgloves, gaillardias, hollyhocks, larkspur, linarias, love-in-a-mist, money plant, blue marguerites, nierembergias, ornamental cabbage and kale, phlox, California and Iceland and oriental and shirley poppies, primroses, rudbeckias, snapdragons, stocks, stokesia, sweet peas, verbenas, violas, and wildflowers.

All these will develop stronger plants and bloom earlier and more profusely in the spring if you sow them now.

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