November Chores in the Garden
By Ann Dozier
Q. I’d like to grow some winter vegetables. Is there anything I can plant now?
Jeanne Hyduchak, San Luis Obispo
A. Yes, you can still enjoy home-grown crops by planting vegetables that like cooler temperatures. Seeds of beets, carrots, chard, onion, peas, radishes and turnips can be sown in many areas. Garlic may also be planted. Cabbage, broccoli, beets and cauliflower may need a head start to get established before winter – Instead of seeds, buy small plants of these vegetables. As always, gardeners need to be aware of their micro-climate; if frosts are early and severe in your area, tender vegetables may not succeed. In coastal areas, it’s still possible to plant salad crops: lettuce, mesclun and arugula are good choices.
If you should decide not to plant vegetables in your plot this winter, consider planting a cover crop of clover, Fava bean, rye or vetch to enrich your bed for next season’s vegetables. (Large Fava beans are a delicious spring treat.)
November is also a good time for planting of biennials such as hollyhocks and Canterbury bells. In milder areas you can continue to divide daylilies, agapanthus, and iris. As the weather cools plant spring blooming bulbs – narcissus of all kinds are good for spring color and will naturalize in many areas. Tulip and hyacinth bulbs purchased now should go in the refrigerator for six weeks before planting.
In cooler areas begin to clean up for winter: rake leaves, dispose of garden debris and pull out annuals and vegetables that have finished their lives (disease-free plants can go in your compost bin). Finish your winter preparations by making sure the garden is well mulched. A good layer of mulch will keep down weeds and make them easier to pull when they do show their heads. It will also retain moisture if this is a dry winter, or help control erosion if big storms arrive.
Got a Gardening Question?
Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton.
The Master Gardener Program is currently accepting applications, with the deadline quickly approaching on November 19th. The Master Gardeners would like to welcome the public to an Open House in San Luis Obispo on November 4th, from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm. This is an opportunity to find out more about the program, view the text books and curriculum, tour the demonstration garden and meet experienced Master Gardeners. The Master Gardener Program is a volunteer service organization sponsored by the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE). The purpose of the program is to extend research-based information produced by the University of California, focusing on sustainable gardening and landscape practices for the home gardener.
Master Gardeners are community members who love gardening and are enthusiastic to share this with others. After an initial group interview process, volunteers are trained by Cooperative Extension experts in horticulture and plant science. The classes cover a range of gardening topics including basic botany, plant propagation, soils and composting, plant and insect identification and control strategies, and diagnosing plant problems.
In return for the instruction the Master Gardener candidates commit to volunteer 50 hours of their time in the year following training, and 12 additional continuing education hours. Continuing education programs, field trips, and garden tours help the Master Gardeners fulfill their required education credits.
The 2011 training program will be held in San Luis Obispo on Thursdays from February 17 through June 23 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information contact the UCCE Master Gardeners, 2156 Sierra Way, Ste C, San Luis Obispo at 781-5939 on Monday and Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m., in Arroyo Grande at 473-7190 on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon, or in Templeton at 434-4105 on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon. Application available online: http://groups.ucanr.org/slomg/ or email email@example.com.
Please see the links attached below for Applications, Open House info and general info!
By Maggie King- Master Gardener
There are many reasons to love living on the Central Coast. High among them is our mild winter weather. While gardeners in most parts of the country are putting down their trowels and picking up their snow shovels, we are able to grow vegetables all year round if we take in to account the particular needs of various plants.
While leaf vegetables like lettuce, spinach and chard may bolt and go to seed in hot summer weather, they grow happily and produce well throughout the cooler months of winter. Other stars of the winter garden are the root vegetables- beets, carrots and radishes, for example, as well as cole crops- broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, which do best when temperatures are cool.
English, snap and sugar peas like cool weather and stop producing pods when it heats up. These legumes have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, improving it for the coming season.
Onions, garlic and leeks can be added to the garden at this time, as well as culinary herbs.
Many seeds can be planted directly into the soil throughout the winter months, while others do best if planted from seedlings. It is important to follow instructions regarding timing of planting.
When preparing for a winter garden, amend the soil well. Most cool season vegetables like to be well-watered, but hopefully seasonal rains will help out.
Some of us are April to September gardeners, seeing the Fall and Winter months as time to stay indoors, read, and make soup. For those in this category, I urge you to venture outside at least long enough to plant a cover crop. Clover, vetch have nitrogen fixing ability as well as providing organic matter to the soil. Fava beans are an especially rewarding cover crop, as they provide a tasty early spring harvest.
A few weeks before planting the spring garden these plants should be cut down and tilled into the soil.
For more information on planning for the cool weather season, call the Master Gardeners.
Join the the UC Master Gardeners for a Fall Gardening Workshop!
"Nurturing the Soil"
Saturday, October 16th, 10am - noon.
2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo
Article by George Frisch
UC Master Gardener
San Luis Obispo County
A hardy, rapidly growing, maintenance-free, reasonably drought tolerant, evergreen ground cover with attractive leaves and lovely flowers -- is there such a plant?
Yes, there are a few, but one is no longer recommended!
Myoporum pacificum is a member of a family (Myoplraceae) widely planted in residential and commercial landscapes and along many miles of California highway hillsides for erosion control. Native to Australia and New Zealand, this attractive and popular family of plants has been virtually pest free. Since 2005, however, a new and exotic genus of thrips (Klambothrips) and its single species (Klambothrips myopori Mound and Morris) has been moving its way north along the coast from San Diego County and has recently appeared here in SLO County.
Less than 120th of an inch in length, the adult black-bodied Myoporum thrips and its orangish hued larvae cause severe damage, particularly to new growth which they prefer. The female thrips inserts eggs into the leaf where the larvae feed, eventually causing terminal gall and severe swelling, curling and leaf distortion.
Managing Myoporum Thrips is difficult. They have no known predator in California. Their tiny size, hidden feeding behavior, mobility and protected egg and pupal stages make most insecticides available to the home gardener ineffective. Pesticides available through licensed pesticide applicators have shown limited control of the thrips. Pruning out the diseased foliage and destroying (not composting) is effective but impractical for landscape plantings. Severely infested plants may have to be removed and destroyed.
Fortunately, there is a native alternative to be found in the Ceanothus (California Lilac) family. Among the many Ceanothus species, try one that is native to the Central Coast called Carmel Creeper (Ceanothus griseus horizontalis) for a dense, dark green groundcover with long, abundant sky blue flowers and no Myoporum thrips./span>
A pleasant outdoor SLO setting, friendly intelligent people, interesting gardening topics, all free of charge…it doesn’t get much better than that! That is why increasing numbers of County residents are regularly attending the monthly Advice to Grow By workshops. These free workshops, presented by the Master Gardeners, are held on the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon at the Garden of the Seven Sisters, our new demonstration garden, at 2156 Sierra Way. The next workshop will be on September 18th, when a team of experts will be discussing and demonstrating the fascinating techniques of plant propagation.
Propagation is the process by which we can produce a large number of plants from a few parents. Not only is propagation fun and interesting, it provides us with new plants free of charge!
Propagation can be sexual or asexual. Sexual propagation relies on the union of male and female flower parts to produce a seed which can then be planted. Asexual propagation uses vegetative plant parts, i.e., roots, stems leaves, to produce new plants. This can be done through cuttings, by separation, division, layering, grafting, and budding. All these techniques will be discussed at the workshop.
At this time of year many plants can benefit from being divided, and proper techniques can insure the largest number of viable new plants. Also, nothing says friendship like sharing part of your garden. Plants you have propagated and cleverly potted can provide perfect holiday gifts.
Have you been envying a neighbor’s bearded iris, or lusting after an exotic succulent in a friend’s garden? If so, you will not want to miss this program. Bring a chair and sun protection, and join us! And, why not bring your friends along? They will learn how to increase the numbers of their favorite plants- and maybe share them with you as well!
Got a Gardening Question?
Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners: at 781-5939 from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and Thursday; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; and at 434-4105 from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners Web site at groups.ucanr.org/slomg/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org