Feel the change of weather? So does your garden.
• If you haven’t already, clean up the remains of summer. Pull faded annuals and vegetables. Prune dead or broken branches from trees. Make sure to pick up any rotten fruit.
• To help prevent leaf curl, apply a copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees after they lose their remaining leaves this month. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective if applied now. Choose a fungicide with at least 50 percent copper.
• Pay attention to camellias. Sasanquas (the Christmas camellia) are now in bloom while japonicas (which bloom in February and March) are setting their flowers. For larger blooms on japonicas, pinch off some camellia buds.
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• Plant spring bulbs such as daffodils, Dutch iris, hyacinths, ranunculus, sparaxis, watsonia, freesia and tulips. Overplant with winter annuals such as pansies and violas.
• In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, bok choy, Swiss chard, garlic, leaf lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio, radishes, shallots and spinach.
• Set out transplants for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce and peas.
• For early spring flowers, plant seeds for California and other poppies, cornflower, larkspur and sweet peas.
• Turn off the automatic sprinklers or reduce watering cycles. Unless you recently reseeded the lawn, that grass needs little extra irrigation during cooler, wetter weather. Run the sprinklers for other plantings when the ground dries out or to irrigate recent transplants. Too much fall and winter water can lead to root rot and other problems.
– Debbie Arrington