The beautiful, crisp days of autumn have a special meaning in Southern California. Now is the best time of the year to plant! While gardeners all over the country are putting away their mowers, spades and hoes in favor of raking leaves, it is time for us to spring into action. It’s a good time to do a thorough garden clean up before winter.
It’s a perfect time to install trees and shrubs. Planting now prepares the roots to take advantage of our winter rains, growing underground to form an abundant root system to support strong new growth in the spring. Cooler days reduce leaf transpiration, requiring less water while you are waiting for the rains.
The nurseries in the area are starting to stock up on marvelous bare root fruit trees. Look for same species trees that have been grafted with two or more different varieties of the same fruit to extend your harvesting season.
If you are interested in native plants, your timing couldn’t be more perfect. Autumn to winter is their best growth season for the coming year. Sow plenty of native wild flower seeds for a glorious garden in the late winter through spring.
Don’t forget the winter vegetables! While warm weather crops like corn and tomatoes are in their decline, put in all of the nutrition-rich crops, such as, chard, cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Leafy green crops and root vegetables will thrive, be sure to include lettuce, radishes and carrots. You can harvest them all winter long.
How about sweet peas?! Look for the varieties designated as “early flowering” and if you put them in now, you may be able to enjoy those beautiful blossoms and glorious fragrance on Valentine’s day or earlier.
What better way to enjoy the beautiful clear days of autumn than outside in the garden.