Finally, we can trim all that dead stuff, but do so gradually down the branch so you're sure to leave the inner green cambium survive to put out new leaves!
Starting seeds in 6-packs (2 seeds in each cell, trimmed to the one strongest, like for lettuce and spinach) and 4" containers (to be transplanted in little clumps for cut-and-come-again variations like parsley and cilantro. They're in a tray to hold the 1/4 inch of irrigation water that's drained and will be absorbed as the potting mix needs it within a couple of days.
An avocado planted in late June.
More sun allowed in September.
Now can absorb milder Fall sun in October.
Dry stuff left from filtering out the "done" compost to spread onto beds with manure and coffee grounds in anticipation of planting seeds and seedlings -- after waiting 2 weeks for the amendments to heat up and cool down. If you don't wait before transplanting, you run the risk of literally burning the roots of the seedlings. This dry stuff will be the base of a new compost pile, alternating with layers of moist greenery and old potting mix.
Like other Fall-blooming bulbs, eucomis arise once the amount of daylight shifts and heat lessens.
A green eucomis, in the ground.
'Whitewater' acanthus - Bear's Breeches - leaves emerge, alaying my fears that it'd died in that awful heat!
Gomphrena globosa 'Fireworks'
Furcrea "fruits" that had fallen from the flower stalk are potted up and rooting.
Stock that had germinated by a leaky faucet are potted up and thriving, despite their skimpy roots.
Tiny yellow bell-shaped flowers on asparagus ferns. Pile on the mature and compost to feed the roots so they'll put up lots of shoots in Spring.
'Carrion Flower' attracts flies, bu are beautiful one-day bloomers. The long white seed pod has expelled its seed.
Lots of bulbs send up foliage now that the amount of daylight and heat has changed.
Still-blooming sunflowers and remnants of amaranth.
Leonitus leonurus - Lion's Tail, Lion's Mane. I prefer this bright orange cultivar over the more beige ones.
Love that bougainvillea!
Our current Fallish weather, mid to upper 70s daytime temperatures, high-50s nighttime temperatures, and lots of scattered clouds during daytime are perfect for getting new plants started in our gardens, whether from seeds or transplants. We can again enjoy being out in the garden, cleaning up after that torrid heat and starting our plantings for eating and enjoying color through Fall and Winter and Early Spring.
Trimming that burnt-up foliage Finally, it’s safe to prune back that dead stuff and encourage the new growth. Trim back what’s obviously dead gradually, however, since some of the branches that have crispy foliage might be still green inside. If the layer just under the outer bark – the cambium layer -- is green, this may potentially resprout, although perhaps not until Spring. You want to cut the dead stuff away, but only just down to the top of the node so a new leaf may emerge later. If new sprouts are coming up from the base of the stem or trunk, like one of my cherries and a rose are doing, be sure to cut all of this away, way down into the soil as close to where it emerges from the stem or trunk as possible. This growth is from the rootstock and won’t bear fruit or flowers that you want. So remove it as soon as you see that it’s regrowing. You want the plant’s energy to go instead into the topgrowth, which is what will bear the fruit and flowers you bought it for.
Some Seeding Tips
Sow seeds of root vegetables – like beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, rutabagas – directly where they’ll mature. They can be strewn in the entire bed or container about 1/2 inch apart. Their taproots need to be able to extend straight down into the prepared bed. As they mature, thin by pulling some of the crowded tiny plants for salads so the remaining roots can mature fully. If initially transplanted from elsewhere, especially 6-packs or 4” pots, their roots will be curly and have a difficult time maturing properly.
Sow seeds of vegetables that will be harvested using the “cut and come again” method – like lettuce, mesclun, parsley, cilantro – by scattering onto the prepared bed so each seed is about 1/4-inch apart. Harvest by cutting just above the soil level, and repeating every month or so as the leaves regrow.
For vegetable seeds like bok choy, chard, lettuce, spinach and tatsoi that you want to transplant later into a growing bed so they’ll develop full heads, you can start them in seed trays, 6-packs or closely sown in a prepared bed specifically for later transplanting.
Edible peas and sweet peas can be sown together, either intermixed or on opposite sides of a trellis. Despite the sweet pea pods being poisonous, they’re so distinctive that there’s no problem confusing them. Edible pods are large, bright green, and smooth. Sweet pea pods are more narrow, grayish, and hairy. Edible pea pods you’ll want to harvest at a stage of immaturity. Sweet pea pods you’ll want to allow to dry until thoroughly crispy for later sowing.
Repeat sowings of seeds every three weeks or so to assure good germination. Later sowings will catch up with earlier ones. Some years, my peas finally come up with the fourth sowing. So keep trying – at some point, the seeds will finally respond to the ideal environment.
Flower seeds can be started either by scattering or in containers, and transplanted when they’re about 2 to 4 inches inches tall.
Wildflower seeds are best scattered over beds that have been weeded and moistened, but without any fertilizer added. Sprinkle the seeded bed lightly with water after sowing and every 3 or 4 days for the next couple of weeks so the seedbed remains slightly moist so seeds can germinate.
Some Transplanting Tips
Prepare growing beds by incorporating compost, manure, and coffee grounds – about 2 inches of each – into the soil at least 9 inches deep to provide nutrition for the full root profile.
Space transplants of vegetables like bok choy, chard, lettuce, spinach and tatsoi closely together. You’ll need only about 3 or 4 inches between plants since you’ll repeatedly harvest only the outer leaves instead of letting the plants mature completely. This way, you’ll have tender “gourmet” greens for maybe 6 months instead of a glut of overmature veggies only next Spring!
Bury cabbage family plants like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower up to their first leaves to help stabilize their heavy-to-be tops. Their stems’ hard cuticles will keep the buried stems from rotting.
California Natives thrive in “native” soil that’s as unfertilized and uncomposted as possible. Loosen the soil in the hole a foot wide but only as deep as the rootball. Fill the empty hole with water and let it drain. Slip the plant into the hole, disturbing the rootball as little as possible, but with some scratching of the outer surface to loosen root tips and encourage them to extend out into the new soil. Fill the hole with the original soil. Water in the plant to fully saturate the rootball and loose soil so they’re in good contact. Then don’t water for several weeks. Hopefully Fall rains will take over, keeping the soil barely moist so roots will anchor themselves in their new home soil.