We get lucky here in California with our mild autumns and winters. It’s easy to still have a yard full of flowers, and if you’re into edible gardening, bulbs or wildflowers, now is the time for planting. It’s also time to do a little clean up and organizing. Not always our favorite thing, but somebody’s got to do it.
Six things to do in your Northern California garden in October: PREPPING YOUR GARDEN
If you really love gardening, cleaning up is one of your fun tasks. If not, well, we’re sorry. Gather up lone pots, forgotten bags of potting soil or mulch, tools and other gardening supplies from around your yard. Prune, rake, pull weeds and generally clean up the natural debris around your yard and throw them on your compost pile. Don’t have one? They’re easy to start!
Divide and transplant perennials
If you notice your perennials aren’t blooming as big or look a little crowded, it’s time to divide and replant. Dig up your plants being careful to dig deep enough to get as much of the root as possible. Knock the soil off the roots so you can find the most natural point of division. Divide into quarters or into sections that would fit in a one-gallon pot, removing any parts that are unhealthy. Replant immediately in soil amended with compost and a high-phosphorus fertilizer. You can also pot them and give them as gifts or overwinter them out of the freeze and replant in the spring.
Six things to do in your Northern California garden in October: PLANTING YOUR GARDEN FOR FALL, WINTER AND SPRING BOUNTY
Plant or pot fall annuals
Fall annuals are such a simple way to add color to your yard as the days get shorter. We all love mums, but you can get get creative with calendula, Iceland poppies, pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, violets, petunias, marigolds and cosmos. These look great in pots or in the ground and can be especially pretty when mixed in planters at your door.
Plant winter veggies
Brassicas (think Turnips, Rutabaga, Kohlrabi, Cabbage, Broccoli, Bok Choy)love the cooler temps and less-harsh sunshine of winter. The brassicas will be ready to harvest in January or February, depending on when you plant them. You can also plant kale, chard and spinach which will be ready to harvest in a few weeks.
Now is the time to plant all those bulbs we love to see pop up in the spring: tulips, daffodils, iris, hyacinth, lily, crocus and our favorite, ranunculus. For those who like order, plant at specified intervals in your garden bed. If you like a little surprise in your life, sprinkle your bulbs randomly. If this is your first season planting, make sure your spot will have enough sun in the early spring to help the new plants push up through the soil – they need 6-8 hours of sun per day. Prep the soil by turning it over and digging your holes – rule of thumb is plant your bulb two-three times deeper than the height of the bulb itself.
Plant wildflower seeds
For lots of color and a natural unkempt look to your garden, add wildflowers. Wildflowers are great for pollinators including honey bees, native bees and butterflies. They’re also just really pretty. You can find native seed packs at our Redwood City, Half Moon Bay and Linda Mar garden centers or online from Grow Organic.
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