Advertisement

The Coastal Gardener: There's so much to do in the fall garden

November 12, 2010|By Ron Vanderhoff
  • The fall season is for planting, planting and more planting.
The fall season is for planting, planting and more planting. (Daily Pilot )

Although the days are shortening at this time of year, a gardener's to-do list is not.

There are so many things to do right in the fall that it's difficult to know where to start. Planting, pruning, planting, dividing, planting, weeding and more planting. For those of us lucky enough to live in Southern California, fall may be the best time of the year to spend time in the garden. It is certainly the most important time.

The soil is still warm, rains are near and cooler temperatures make being in the garden even more pleasant. The clean, crisp smell of the air and the lengthening shadows on the soil make this my favorite season in the garden.

For me, the soft, golden light of autumn is especially notable. California's clear, sunny skies are special at any time of the year. Our exceptional light has attracted legions of gardeners as well as plein air artists to our state. It is the quality of California's light that has enticed countless artists to our landscapes and our gardens, as they render what they see from eye to palette to canvas. But the light of fall is the most special. Warm yet soft, bright but restful — it's a pleasant light, a subtle combination of radiance and calmness. Fall's is a kind, friendly light … a perfect light for gardening.

Advertisement

Plant winter vegetables and herbs

Changing temperatures mean changing your tomatoes, peppers, squash and other summer plants to their cool-season counterparts. Now is the time to put out leafy specialties like all lettuce, romaine, endive and spinach, also Asian greens and gourmet choices like arugula and radicchio. Onions, garlic and chives are in season, as are all the brothers and sisters of the cabbage family, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale. Root crops like these seasons' shorter, cooler days and include radish, beets, turnips, carrots and even potatoes. Finally, this is the time to start any type of peas as well as nutritious fava beans.

If you've previously failed at cilantro, try it now. It won't wither away or go to seed instantly, like it does in the warm months. Other herbs for the season include the cousins anise, dill and fennel as well as borage, chervil, chamomile, chives, parsley and sorrel.

Plant bulbs

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|