Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2007
Regional Report

Rotate and Renovate Strawberry Beds

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.

Prepare Herbs for Indoor Conditions

After dividing and repotting established herbs for overwintering indoors, leave the newly potted sections in a lightly shaded place for three weeks, then move them indoors to a cool spot with bright light. This will allow them time to acclimate to higher indoor temperatures and drier humidity before it's too cold outdoors to make the change without shock.

Fertilize Overwintering Plants

Feed all overwintering plants with a no-nitrogen, high-phosphorous, high-potassium fertilizer to help them become cold-hardy.

Divide Flowers

Most perennials and some annuals can be transplanted or divided and replanted. These include acanthus, agapanthus, Japanese anemone, astilbe, bergenia, bleeding hearts (Dicentra), calendulas, evergreen candytuft, columbine, coralbells (Heuchera), coreopsis, michaelmas and Shasta daisies, daylilies, delphiniums, dianthus, dusty miller, foxgloves, heliopsis, hellebores, hollyhocks, bearded iris, peonies, phlox, Oriental poppies, primroses, rudbeckias, statice, stock, stokesia, veronica, and yarrow. Use a spade or sharp knife to separate the large clumps, or gently pull apart individual plants after loosening the clump from its surrounding soil. Discard the old, unproductive sections. Trim the foliage of young growth to 4 or 6 inches. Dig in compost, replant, and water in well.

Reduce Irrigation

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. 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 longer periods for the soil to dry in between waterings, and it doesn't encourage new, frost-tender growth.


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