Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2001
Regional Report

Rake Leaves

Rake fallen leaves and add them to the compost pile. If you don't have a compost pile, this is the perfect time of year to start one. There is nothing better for your garden than composted material. It can be used as a mulch or as a soil conditioner. Virtually all plants benefit from a treatment of compost. Besides, leaves left on the ground harbor slugs and snails, not to mention insect pests. Raking your garden beds clean make your garden look nicer too!

Plant Wildflowers

Wildflowers encourage beneficial insects and birds into your garden. November is the perfect time to plant them from seed because this is the time that they would naturally fall from the parent plant. Rake and clean a patch of soil in full sun and scatter the seeds over the surface. Wildflowers do best if they don't have to compete with weeds. If you wish, you can cover with 1/4 inch of compost to protect the seeds from hungry birds. Water after planting.

Care for Indoor Plants

As the outside temperatures drop, the heater goes on inside the house. Dry, warm air is the ideal condition for spider mites, mealybugs and scale insects to thrive. Check indoor plants frequently for insect infestation and treat with a soap/oil spray if present. Mist plants frequently to keep humidity high or use a humidity tray made by placing gravel in the saucer under each plant. Water collects in the gravel and evaporates back up through the foliage providing much needed humidity, while preventing the roots from sitting in water.

Dig and Divide Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses get pretty ratty looking this time of year. I like to pull them from the soil, divide the root into several pieces and then give the divisions a \"flat top\" before putting them back in place in the garden or in containers. Cover the prepared plants with a thick layer of compost to protect from frosts. Water after you have completed these tasks to settle the soil around the roots. Don\'t expect them to do much before spring rolls around.

Cut Back Dusty Miller

Senecio Cineraria is a beautiful gray foliage plant that is a perfect contrast plant in the garden. The fuzzy foliage seems to pick up light and draw attention to any area it is planted. However, this time of year, the plants have finished their summer bloom and looking pretty bad. Cut back to within 3 inches of the ground if you wish, or simply remove the faded flower stalks to keep dusty miller compact and lush.


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