What to do in your garden in November
Meadow plants. Few of us have room in the backyard to createa meadow, but anyone can grow a mini version in a pot. Plant aclumping grass like Festuca glauca in a container partially filled with pottingsoil, then tuck baby blue eyes, Eschscholzia caespitosa (a smaller version of Californiapoppy), or tidytips around it. If you can’t find these wildflowerseedlings at nurseries, start them from seed. A good source is theTheodore Payne Nursery (www.theodorepayne.org or818/768-1802).
Ornamentals. Fall is the ideal time to set out permanentlandscaping plants. Check out these new shrub varieties from NativeSons Wholesale Nursery (www.nativeson.com or805/481-5996): ‘Baby Barnsley’ lavatera, 3 to 4 feet tall withwhite flowers; and ‘Mozart’ rosemary, about 3 feet tall with darkblue flowers. Also new from Native Sons is ‘Spindrift’ SantaBarbara daisy; it’s more compact than the 3-foot-tall species (Erigeron karvinskianus), and it won’t reseed.
Seasonal color. Except in the mountains, there’s still timeto set out cool-season bedding plants. Snapdragons are a goodchoice. A pretty new variety from Do Right’s Plant Growers (www.dorights.com or805/525-2155), a wholesale nursery in Santa Paula, is ‘CandySnap’. It has bright pink flowers set against green-and-whitevariegated leaves. Other colorful choices to plant now includecalendula, diascia, English daisies, Iceland poppies, nemesia,osteospermum, pansies, stock, and violas.
Winter vegetables. In Sunset climate zones 13 (low desert) and 14-24 (coastal andinland), continue to sow seeds of beets, carrots, chard, onions,parsley, peas, radishes, and turnips. Set out broccoli, cabbage,and cauliflower seedlings. Coastal gardeners can also continue toplant lettuces. In the foothills and Central Valley (zones 7-9 and14), sow peas and spinach and plant garlic and onions.
Prepare for winter rains. Clean out gutters, downspouts, andswales. Buy barrels or other storage devices to collect rainwaterfor plants.
Stay ahead of weeds. Pull out annual bluegrass, chickweed,sowthistle, and other young weeds as they emerge.
PESTS AND DISEASES
Spray fruit trees. If pests or fungal diseases have attackedyour deciduous fruit trees this past year, take steps now toprotect the trees from attacks next year. After leaves havedropped, spray trees with a mixture of lime sulfur or fixed copperand horticultural oil (on apricots, use only fixed copper). The oilsmothers eggs of over-wintering insect pests; the lime sulfur orcopper discourages fungal diseases like peach leaf curl. Spraybranches, the trunk, and the ground beneath the trees out to thedriplines.
Tetanus in soils. Tetanus bacteria occurs naturally in soil,manure, and potting media ― materials gardeners are exposedto all the time. If such materials get into an open wound, you’revulnerable to this potentially fatal disease. If it has been morethan 10 years since your last booster shot and you’re ahands-in-the-dirt kind of gardener, it’s time for another.