What to plant; what pests to watch out for and more – Daily News
The spring and summer months tend to monopolize gardening attention, but in Southern California, October through January is more than an afterthought.
Here, fall and winter can be a great time to grow all kinds of annual vegetables, as it is still warm enough for some plants to thrive, but the very hot weather that could have wilted them begins to subside. The cooler months are also a good time to establish trees and shrubs.
However, like summer, fall and winter are not without pitfalls. Experts have shared tips on what gardeners should know if they plan to get into cool-weather gardening.
1. Prepare your garden
If you haven’t already, now is the time to get rid of old summer plants that you won’t harvest anything from, as they can harbor pests that can become problematic for your garden later in the season. said Aaron Fox, associate professor of urban and community agriculture at Cal Poly Pomona.
Fox also recommended that gardeners take the time to check the quality of their soil and refresh it, if necessary, by improving it with compost or throwing away what they have and starting over.
“A lot of us grow in containers here as well, and those containers require special attention at least once a year, if not every season,” Fox said.
2. Determine what to plant
Fall is a great time to plant leafy greens, including lettuce, spinach and chard, according to Van Brandon, owner of the Parkview Nursery in Riverside.
Brandon said fall is also the time to start growing plants in the genus Brassica, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
It’s also a good time to plant deciduous fruit trees, such as apples and pears, as well as stone fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots, according to Tom Spellman, director. sales for the southwest from the Dave Wilson Nursery in Hickman, Calif. , which is a national wholesaler of fruit trees.
“These can be put in place now,” Spellman said. “They’re rooting a little bit, they go into complete dormancy for the winter and they’re a bit pre-established for the spring and they come out right away.”
There is a caveat to planting fruit trees right now, Spellman said, and that is that some varieties may not be so easy to find as more people have started growing fruit trees since the beginning. start of the pandemic and this caused the sale of some cultivars as early as April of this year.
Spellman said nursery stock is expected to rebound in January, which is always a good time to plant.
“On deciduous fruit trees in particular, this is probably the best time because you put them out while they’re completely dormant,” Spellman said. “You have a fresh young stock that has just been pulled out of the ground and you can come in with this brand new tree and have it start to take root in early spring and produce a nice new spurt of growth.”
But gardeners shouldn’t wait if they walk into a nursery and find a variety of deciduous fruit trees that they want to plant.
“As long as they can find what they’re looking for anytime – October, November, even until December is a good time to start,” Spellman said.
3. Be strategic with your plantation
Space considerations can play a bigger role in fall gardening, especially if you are growing crucifers that require more space than other vegetables and herbs.
“If you have small spaces, it may not be worth planting crops like broccoli and at the end of the day you only have one head of broccoli,” Fox said.
Members of the Brassicaceae family are also all susceptible to a pest called the cabbage looper. Fox advised gardeners not to plant all cauliflowers, sprouts, Brussels sprouts, and related plants in the same area.
“You don’t want to make it easy for the pests and if you kind of cook a buffet for them, they’re going to thrive and reproduce,” Fox said. “And so just trying to divide things up a bit and trying to mix different families and some things that they might not be interested in eating, it can make things a little more difficult for them.”
Fox said that some of the plants you can use to break down crucifers include cilantro, carrots, and even potatoes. However, make sure that if you are dealing with tomato diseases and pests earlier in the year, you do not plant the potatoes in the same places where the tomatoes were, because the potatoes (another member of the nightshade family) can keep these diseases and pests going. For example, both can be affected by the burn and sphinxes find them just as tasty.
4. These cabbage kids are anything but cute
Brandon said some of the pests gardeners faced in the spring and summer will still be around. Among them are aphids. He said there are a wide variety of organic and non-organic treatments for parasites, but two that may work are Captain Jack de Bonide’s Deadbug and Neem Oil.
Cabbage looper, the pest Fox warned about, are small green caterpillars that later turn into moths. The best way to get rid of them, Fox says, is to actively monitor them. and pick them up from the plant when you see them (in the same way that you could withdraw a tomato hornworm during summer).
In the case of a larger scale cabbage looper infestationsFox said that there are many natural solutions such as Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) that can be used for pest control.
But, even if cabbage looper take a few bites of your precious cabbage or cauliflower, you’ll be fine, according to Fox.
“It won’t hurt you to eat it,” Fox said. “It just doesn’t look that pretty.”
5. Think about the rain
Another unique challenge that the colder months bring is that there can be more precipitation than in spring and summer.
Fox recommends using devices such as rain gauges and soil moisture sensor irrigation timers, often referred to as smart irrigation timers, which can be connected to automatic sprinkler systems to control the amount of water. water applied. Using the devices can help prevent plants from overwatering during the rainy winter.
“Even if you don’t invest in a technology like this, just try to remember that when the rains start – hopefully – later this winter, you’re just trying to keep up with your irrigation and turn things off when the rains start – hopefully – later this winter. ‘it is raining. Fox said.