Many of us SoCal veggie gardeners have been delayed by Bagrada bugs, so it is definitely planting from transplants time, with a side o seedlings! The lovely gain from that is two successive plantings at once! The transplants have a 6 week head start on the seedlings. There will be two harvests, a third if you plant from transplants again in November!
Lettuces are bounding up! Any non Bagrada fall crops are great to plant now! Beets, chard, peas!
Shape your land! Put in bioswales, drainage, Hugelkultur, terraces, whatever your land calls for or is capable of. Remember, Slow, Spread, Sink your water. Keep that precious resource on your property to water your trees, your garden, improve our water table. Set up grey water and water capture systems. We will pray for rain! If you do raised beds, make your soil Rosina’s way!
Install gopher barrier perimeters or make baskets. Plant happily, sleep fearlessly and peacefully.
Prep your Soil for fat growth!
- Clear away weeds, debris, spent or unhealthy plants, habitat for overwintering pests/diseases.
- Most winter plants are heavy feeders. Brocs, caulis, kale, cabbages are big plants making lots of huge leaves! Chard, cabbages and lettuces are nothing but leaves! So now is the time to lay in that compost you have been making, and some worm castings - castings are most effective when a smaller amount is used—just 10-40 percent of the total volume of the plant growth medium that you put it in! Add some manure to your lettuce, parsley and garlic beds, Brassica areas.
- Peas and carrots are the exceptions. Peas are legumes and make their own Nitrogen, but sometimes they can do with a tad more if that soil is depleted. Too good a soil makes carrots hairy and they fork. Depending on how you use your carrots, some of us don’t mind those two for one forked carrots! Over watering, irregular watering, however, can make them split and that opens them to diseases.
- Establish your pathways, put up your trellises or cages for peas.
- Plant, plant, plant!
- From Seeds: MORE arugula, beets, brocs, carrots, celery, chard, lettuce, mustard greens, peas, parsley (keep moist 20 days unless you presoaked your seed), radish. Fall marks the end of the season for small red radishes and the beginning of the season for larger daikon-type radishes.
- Potatoes?! Oh, yes! Reds, fingerlings, Yukon Gold – your favorites!
- Check those lettuce packets for seed planting depth. Some you spread on the ground and simply pat in, water very gently. Others go in 1/4″ deep. True.
- Did you already plant fall veggies in August, Sept, or both? Excellent! Plant another round!
Trap plants or not?! Trap plants attract Bagrada bugs! If you do decide to plant trap plants, interplant plenty of mustard every couple of weeks. Fast grower Giant Red is a good choice. Plant some among your lettuces to keep them off it. Don’t be surprised to find them on your Arugula too, another Brassica. Or don’t plant Brassicas – that’s all the Coles, broccoli, kale, collards, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, nor Mizuna, mustard, radish, arugula or turnips until the weather cools.
Green Manure Each year choose an area or two to let your soil rest, be restored. Decide where you will put your tomatoes next summer and plant a patch of favas there! Buy the organic seeds at your natural foods store bulk bins! Presprout your favas! Presprouting equals 100% germination and mucho time saved since favas have a notoriously low germination rate! It’s a no-brainer since it is so easy to do! Just be gentle when you plant the babies. If fava is too tall and would shade out other plants, put in a vetch green manure ground cover mix. It gets only 4-5′ tall. In Santa Barbara get it bulk at Island Seed & Feed. Be sure to get a packet of inoculant for the beans, peas and vetch.
FIRST GARLIC? Indeed. It’s Vampire Time! Plant late October through Winter Solstice day. That’s at least two rounds, why not make it three?! See a LOT about GARLIC! for tasty planting information.
Harvest any lingering seeds. Special notes about your Winter Squash: Harvest and Curing – Fruit should be left until the vines are brown and withered, but should be harvested before frost or they will not store well. Optimum is when the stem is drying and the squash is well-matured, the rind hard and not easily broken with the thumbnail. With pruning shears, cut from the vine leaving 2 to 3″ of stem, and cure for 10 days in the field, or indoors in a cool place if frost is likely. Undamaged, they will keep for several months if stored in a cool dry place. Dampness is bad.
Cut your strawberry runners Oct 10 to 15 to put in fridge to chill at least 20 days until you plant them bareroot Nov 1 through 5!
Those of you with container gardens, dump out that old spent summer soil, pop in some tasty new mix, install a trellis for the peas, anchor that pot! Get going – put in your seeds, baby transplants! You will soon be having holiday table treats, like crisp lettuces, bunch onions, colorful chard, nutritious kale!
Give your babies a boost! Drench young plants with Aspirin Solution, + 1/4 cup nonfat powdered milk, to get them off to a great start! Do this immediately for transplants!
Winter’s plants are incredibly productive! Cut and Come Again! Kale, collards, lettuces, leaf by leaf. Cut bunch/table onions 1 to 2” above ground. They will come back 3 to 4 times – you will be amazed how fast! After you cut the main broccoli head off, let the side sprouts grow. Snip for salads/steaming.
Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and nutritious feasting!
See the entire October 2014 Newsletter!