The weather is changing, nights are cold, days might not be. We are deep into fall, here are some suggestions on what to plant.
By the time November rolls around, we are deep into fall. Night temperatures are dropping and we even get some occasional rain. Still, in Southern California our daytime temperatures may reach 80s. As a gardener I really appreciate this weather. Seeds will readily germinate in these temperatures. And the ground stays wet enough to help them along. It's also a great time to transplant.
Cilantro / Coreander The funny thing about salsa, onions are spring, summer is for tomatoes and chiles, lemons and cilantro come in winter. Therefore, salsa shouldn't exist! I try to grow cilanto all year round, but it really loves the cold. Grow lots ths time of year. You can actually slow down your succession planting since it won't bolt so quickly.
Radishes Radishes are fast growing. They can be ready to harvest in as little as three weeks! If you like to eat radishes, pick a day of the week like a lazy Sunday, and plant a handful of seeds.
I tend to stick them in gaps between other plants. I don't often feel like they need labels since they mature so quickly and are easy to recognize. My wife likes to snack on them as they are or add a little lemon juice and salt.
Radishes are heavy feeders, so make sure to add some extra compost wherever you grow them.
Beets Beets are a lot like radishes, but need twice as long to mature and require twice the space. I like beets because their greens are just as useful as the bulb. I usually cook beets before I eat them, but you can slice them thin and add them to a salad for a nice crunch. I wouldn't eat too many this way though, since they are in the amaranth family and contain oxalates which can cause kidney stones. Oxalates are easily cooked out.
Fall is open season when it comes to California native plants. Check the calendars of your local native plant society or native plant nurseries, many have big plant sales around the end of October to beginning of November. A few of my favorite:
- Grow Native Nursery - Claremont Botanic Garden (Claremont)
- Theodore Payne Foundation (Sun Valley)
- California Native Plant Society (Find your local chapter)
Plant your natives at this time of year so they have ample time to grow their roots and settle in to their new home to give them their best chance of surviving their first summer.
Leafy Greens and Cabbages
Lettuce, Spinach and Kale This is the time of year to grow lettuce, kale and spinach. Leafy greens love the cold. Warm days encourage them to grow and the cold keeps them from bolting.
Cabbage family: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy Cabbage family vegetables do bestwhen they have a long cold season. In California it can be challenging to make sure your broccoli and brussels sprouts experience enough cold nights to bloom properly. If you haven't already planted them by now and you have the space, it's worth a shot but you could run into problems. Make sure they have consistent moisture throughout the growing season.