Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2010
Regional Report

Sow Wildflowers

Mid to late October is the ideal time to plant wildflowers from seed. Clear the ground of weeds before planting to avoid competition. Scratch the surface of the soil so that the tiny roots can get a foothold after they germinate. After preparing the soil, scatter seeds over the surface, then just barely cover with fresh potting soil. Water gently to settle the seed in place. Once winter rains begin, stop watering. Poppies and lupine are two varieties that do very well in our climate.

Clean Garden Beds

Pull up and compost spent summer annual and vegetable plants. Rake up and compost fallen leaves and debris from under shrubs and trees. By keeping the soil clean, you eliminate many fungus diseases. For faster composting, chop debris into small pieces.

Citrus Care

Citrus trees are setting their fruit now. Do not allow the soil to dry between watering to avoid fruit drop. Hand pollinate late blooming flowers with a small paint brush to increase production.


Continue watering shrubs, lawns, flower beds, winter vegetable gardens and trees until winter rains begin in earnest. Although plants use less water now than earlier in the season, it's a good idea to keep them watered to prevent attacks from insect pests.

Cymbidium Switch

Switch your cymbidiums to a bloom enhancing fertilizer (0-10-10 or 15-30-15) if you have not already done so. The plants should be setting spikes now. Protect plants from slugs and snails by applying Slugg-O or surrounding containers with copper foil.


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