October in the Southern California Garden
Each month has its special joys and tasks in the garden. Below is a suggested calendar for October. Remember that gardening depends on the weather, so tasks, bloom season and activities may vary from year to year.
You can download this calendar at: http://www.slideshare.net/cvadheim/october-in-the-southern-california-garden
Best of Show:
§ Flowers: Baccharis emoryi, Baccharis pilularis, Ceanothus spp., Brickellia californica, Diplacus spp. (on coast), Epilobium canum, Salvia clevelandii, Verbena lilacena
§ Fruits/seeds/berries: Eriogonum species, Heteromeles arbutifolia, Rosa spp., Shepherdia argentea, Symphoricarpos spp., Vitus spp.
§ Foliage: tan/brown foliage of local native grasses & shrubs; Anemopsis californica; Populus and Salix species
§ Purchase plants from native plant nurseries/sales; place in semi-shade and water regularly until planted out.
§ Consider adding some decorative and educational signs to your garden; explore your options – purchase/create, then install after pruning
§ Finish installing any hardscape: fences, paths, patios
§ Re-apply mulch after pruning
§ From seed: cool-season grass plugs; annual wildflowers, bulb seeds in nursery containers; winter veggie crops
§ Start chilling seeds w/ shorter (1-2 month) pre-plant stratification period; check for roots every 2 weeks – plant in nursery containers when first roots emerge
§ Plant out cool-season vegetables from starts/pony-packs or from seed
Watering: prepare for the rainy season
§ Taper off watering all but Zone 2-3 & 3 plants. Keep vegetable gardens, containers & other Zone 3 plants watered – particularly if Santa Anna winds are predicted
§ Once rains saturate the soil you can turn off your irrigation system (if you have one); check soils periodically during hot, windy, dry weather and water as needed
§ Install/repair/clean rainwater collection/infiltration system (if not done in Sept.)
§ Set out/clean rain gauge
§ For more see: http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2015/08/preparing-for-el-nino-winter-rains.html
Pruning: major pruning month, particularly for Water Zone 1 and Zone 1-2 plants
§ Prune to shape/thin:
§ Ribes spp.
§ Most summer-dry shrubs (particularly Coastal Sage Scrub and Coastal Shrubland species)
§ Hedge-shear – often the best time for mature plants
§ Divide native bulbs/corms; store or replant (better)
§ Remove old leaves, dead stems, tidy up perennials, groundcovers and ornamental grasses
§ For more see: http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2014/11/maintaining-your-new-california-garden_15.html
§ Usually not much weeding to do; but keep on top of any weeds, weedy grasses that may appear.
§ Good time to work on removing patches of Bermuda & Kikuyu grasses, which are slowing down now
§ Gophers may be getting desperate; consider options
§ Dry aromatic prunings for seasoning/tea/potpourri
§ Save artistic-looking materials for fall/winter decorations, flower arrangements, etc.
§ Dye some yarn with prunings; or dry the dye-stuff for later
§ Carve a pumpkin – or make a pie
Enjoying the garden:
§ Go to the native plant sales; see what’s new, ask questions
§ Visit a new-to-you native plant garden; take your camera and notebook to jot down ideas.
§ Enjoy the play of tans, browns and grays – a subtle sophisticated color palette