September

What to do in your Southern California garden in September
Nan Sterman

Plant

Plant low water, flowering bulbs and corms from South Africa now, while they are dormant: Watsonia, Tritonia, Babiana, Sparaxis and others.

Start seeds for cool season crops such as cauliflower, chard, kale, peas and beans.

Maintain

Prune fig trees as soon as you harvest all their fruit. New figs soon develop at branch tips so if you wait too long to prune, you could prune off next year’s crop.

If you use overhead sprinklers, water very early in the morning so leaves dry out during the day. Foliage that stays wet overnight isvulnerable to fungi and diseases. Early morning watering also helps alleviate the stress on the municipal water demand. Early morning showers and breakfast making creates a huge demand from about 6 am to 9 am.

If plant leaves are a little dusty or covered with spider webs, spritz them with a sharp blast from the hose, early in the day.

Check your irrigation system for leaks and uncapped lines. If you have overhead spray, turn it on to see that the heads are properly aimed.

Deep water potted plants. In the heat, they are far more vulnerable to water stress than plants in the ground.

As annual vegetable plants reach the end of their lives, pull them out and compost any that are not diseased. If diseased, put them into green waste and make sure that the can is covered tightly.

Harvest

Wait for pineapple guavas to fall to the ground—that’s when they’re ripe. Once they fall, simply collect them from the ground, rinse, slice open, and scoop out the fleshy, white fruit.

Feed

Set out shallow dishes of water for lizards, birds, and butterflies. Site them in spots well away from cats and dogs.

Relax

Don’t reach for the insecticide when large metallic blue-green beetles visit as they ripen. Though they are large, they are harmless and won’t cause much damage. Simply wait until they finish their lifecycle and disappear.