Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
August, 2010
Regional Report

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Cannas attract hummingbirds to the garden.

Planning the Fall and Winter Garden

In the midst of all this summer warmth, it's time to begin planning our fall and winter garden- the one we'll be eating and enjoying color from for the next six months. Here are some things to consider.

Which New Vegetable Crops Should Follow Those Just Removed?
Follow "heavy" feeders with "light" feeders, and vice versa. Heavy feeders include beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, escarole, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, okra, parsley, pumpkins, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, squash and tomatoes. Light feeders include carrots, chard, garlic, leeks, mustard, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, rutabaga, shallots, sweet potatoes' and turnips.

What About Highly-Fertilized Areas?
Some vegetables are more tolerant of salty soil in the garden. If an area has received repeated applications of manure or other concentrated fertilizers, the salt content may be high. Asparagus, beets, kale and spinach do well under these conditions, but celery, green beans, radishes, strawberries and most fruits cannot tolerate it. Other vegetables and cantaloupes, figs and grapes are generally of medium tolerance.

What to Sow Now
Vegetables include beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, endive, escarole, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, thick-leafed and heading lettuces, onions, parsley, peas, white potatoes, radishes, shallots and spinach. Savoy-leafed types of cabbage and spinach will resist frosts better than the more tender flat-leaf varieties.

Flowers include alyssum, calendulas (winter or pot marigold), candytuft (Iberis, celosia (cockscomb), columbines (Aquilegia), coreopsis (pot of gold), cosmos, gloriosa daisy (rudbeckia, coneflower, black-eyed-Susan), Shasta daisies, delphiniums, dianthus (sweet William, pinks), forget-me-nots (Myosotis), foxgloves, gaillardias (blanket flower), Gypsophila (baby's breath), hollyhocks, larkspur, linarias, lobelia, nasturtiums, nemesias, pansies, petunias, scabiosas (mourning bride, pincushion flower), snapdragons, statice (Limonium, sea lavender), stock, sweet peas, and violas.

Assure Germination
Keep seed beds or flats moist and shaded during the hottest portion of the day until the seeds germinate. A light mulch helps keep the soil surface from crusting, especially over tiny seeds that take a while to germinate, like carrots and parsley. Boards laid over the seed bed also help to keep it from drying out. Prop them up or remove them when more than half of the seeds germinate.

Attract Hummingbirds to the Garden
Plant funnel-shaped flowers in red and pink colors. Abutilon (flowering maple), cannas, cleome, fuchsia, honeysuckle, Monarda, penstemon, and red trumpet vine are favorites.

Final Salute to Summer
Plant the last seeds and transplants of summer vegetables, just in case the weather stays warm through Thanksgiving, and you may get another "season" of these summer treasures- unless you're already sick of them- beans, cucumbers, squash. Even peppers and tomatoes are a possibility, if you have enough space for them, on the very off-chance that they'll produce late into the winter.

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