Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2001
Regional Report

Match Bulbs and Deciduous Trees

Separate and replant crowded clumps of bulbs. Many types of bulbs will grow well beneath deciduous trees, since most of the bulbs\' growth takes place in the early spring before the trees leaf out and shade them.

Plant Early-Blooming Annuals

For a cover crop of flowers before, during, and after spring bulb bloom, sow seeds or plant seedlings of low-growing annual bloomers after you've planted the bulbs. Think of color contrasts such as purple pansies with yellow daffodils or white alyssum with red tulips. Good choices include calendulas, pansies, Iceland poppies, primroses, dwarf snapdragons, dwarf stock, and violas. Sow seed thickly, water the area, mulch it lightly, and keep it moist until seedlings have two sets of true leaves.

Seed Lawns

You can still seed new lawns or reseed thin spots in established ones. For good germination, water newly-seeded lawns two or three times a day for the first two weeks. For another two weeks, water once a day. Then, change to watering only three times a week but for longer periods. You want the moisture to reach two to three inches down so the roots grow deeply into the well-prepared seedbed. When the grass gets bushy and about three inches tall -- about a month after sowing -- the lawn is ready for its first mowing. Allow the soil to become firm and fairly dry before mowing, however, to avoid compressing the new lawn with mower wheels and your footsteps.

Choose Glass or Plastic

There is a difference between glass and plastic for greenhouses or cloches. Plastic transmits the full spectrum of light, whereas glass filters out the long ultra-violet rays that are a beneficial portion of sunlight.

Change Watering Timing

Help overwintering plants harden off by changing your irrigation schedule. Cooler weather slows evaporation from the soil and transpiration from plant foliage, so irrigation is needed less often. Therefore, decrease the number of times -- but not the length of time -- you water. For example, water once every three weeks instead of once a week, but still water for half an hour each time. This change will still provide water to deep roots while allowing for longer periods for the soil to dry in between waterings, and it doesn\'t encourage new, frost-tender growth.


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