"The watering of a garden requires as much judgment as the seasoning of a soup."
~Helena Rutherford Ely
- Plant all types of permanent landscaping plants (trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ground covers) except for tropicals.
- Remove summer flowers and prepare the beds for cool season color with the addition of an organic soil amendment like GBO Soil Building Conditioner.
- Plant cool season annuals such as pansies, snapdragons, stocks, Iceland poppies, dianthus, calendulas, primrose and ornamental kale and cabbage.
- Plant bulbs such as daffodils, anemones, ranunculus, bearded iris, Dutch iris, lilies and more.
- Purchase tulip, hyacinth and crocus bulbs and place them in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for 6-8 weeks to prepare them for later planting.
- Plant cineraria for late and winter and early spring bloom.
- Scatter wildflower seeds, such as California poppies and others. Fall and winter rains will help them germinate for a lavish spring flower show. These are perfect additions for wilder, less cultivated areas of the garden, such as slopes.
- Plant cool season lawns by seed or sod such as fescue, perennial ryegrass or bluegrass. Fall is the best time of year by far for this job.
- Over-seed sparse lawns with a compatible grass seed.
- Fertilize your cool season lawn (fescue, perennial ryegrass or bluegrass) to prepare it for winter.
- Over-seed your Bermuda grass lawn with annual ryegrass if you want a beautiful, green carpet all winter long. When the warm weather returns, the annual ryegrass will die out and the Bermuda will take over once again.
- Remove old plants from the summer vegetable garden and prepare it for the fall crops by cultivating the soil and adding compost or an organic soil amendment like GBO Harvest Supreme.
- Plant cool season vegetables such as root crops, leafy vegetables, peas, broccoli and cauliflower.
- If you planted your sweet peas last month, thin them out and pinch them back to force branching; there is still time to plant them by seed or starts, also.
- Divide clumping plants that are overgrown such as ginger, clivia, agapanthus, daylily and bird of paradise.
- Divide perennials such as Shasta daisy, aster, chrysanthemum, rudbeckia and many others, if needed. Most perennials should be divided every 3-5 years.
- Cut back zonal, ivy and Martha Washington geraniums.
- Divide naturalized bulbs, if needed, such as belladonna lilies, daffodils, paper white narcissus and Dutch iris. If the bulbs are crowded and the bloom was sparse the previous spring, they probably should be divided.
- Divide hardy water lilies.
- Treat blue hydrangeas with aluminum sulfate to keep them blue (otherwise they will be pink next year).
- Apply one last round of fertilizer to roses early this month.
- Begin decreasing the amount of water given to deciduous fruit trees to help prepare for their winter dormancy.
- Remove summer annuals from outdoor containers and replace them with a cool-season alternative that will provide color from fall through next spring.
- If you have some shade plant a bed of cyclamen (or use them as container plants) for dependable color for the upcoming holiday season.
- Prune hedges and shrubs that have gotten out of hand over the summer. Do not prune spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs until after they bloom in the spring.
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Sweet peas are an old-fashioned annual that has delighted gardeners for ages. Said Keats, sweet peas have "taper fingers catching at all things, to bind them all about with tiny rings."
Sweet peas have been a popular favorite for generations, since they are simple to grow and provide a great supply of cut flowers. Cultivated for their vivid colors of red, pink, blue, white and lavender, the fluttering blossoms of this plant almost appear to be folded over their stems, like delicate butterflies.
Old-fashioned sweet peas have been cultivated for their striking color and strong fragrance since Victorian times. These climbers can grow as high as 6 to 8 feet or more where suitable support like a fence or trellis is available to them.
Sweet peas are usually grown from seed. And we have the seeds! After amending the soil well with a good planting mix like GBO Planting Mix, plant seeds about ¼ inch deep and 3 inches apart. After planting, water the soil well but don't water again until sprouts appear.
Sweet peas' blooming is curtailed by heat; they prefer regular watering during summer months and bloom best in cooler, mild climates.
If they are planted in rich, moist soil with a heavy mulch, their roots can keep cool enough to survive even the hottest days of summer in warmer areas.
Sweet peas can be grown on trellises or tripods, alone or mixed with pole beans or green peas, and are often grown in vegetable gardens. For novices, sweet peas offer almost fool-proof results. For experienced, even expert gardeners, sweet peas are good looking workhorses of the garden, attracting bees and other pollinators needed for anything to grow.
Come on in, we have a plenty of sweet peas in stock right now and conditions are perfect for planting.
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Have a bumper crop of pumpkins? Once you've made your quota of
pumpkin pies and carved all your jack-o-lanterns, continue to make
use of those colorful gourds to decorate your house, deck and patio
Create a festive container for fall-blooming plants such as
chrysanthemums or ornamental kale and cabbage, following these simple
- Select a pumpkin large enough to hold your potted plant.
- At the stem end of the pumpkin, cut a hole large enough to insert
- Use a large scoop to remove the pulp and seeds (reserve the seeds to
make a healthy treat--see below).
- Scrape the inside of the pumpkin so it is smooth and clean.
- To extend the life of your pumpkin and keep it from getting moldy,
spray a mixture of one part bleach per 1 quart water inside the
pumpkin and on the carved edge of the opening. Wait about 20 minutes
to allow the solution to penetrate and dry. Rub petroleum jelly on
the carved edge of the opening to prevent bacteria and mold and keep
it moist; wipe away any excess.
- Place a little sand in the bottom of your pumpkin to create
stability for your potted plant.
- Place your potted plant in the pumpkin, adjusting it in the sand
until it is the right height.
- For the longest life, place your cachepot out of direct sunlight
where it will be protected from rain and freezing temperatures.
Now--what to do with those seeds? Make some delicious Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds
for healthy snacking or as a great salad topping:
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds (1 large pumpkin should yield about 1 cup seeds)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or a little more, to taste)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Rinse seeds, removing as much of the pulp as possible; don't
worry about leaving a small amount of pulp (it is impossible to
remove it all).
Pat the seeds dry, then toss them with the butter, sugar and spices.
Spread the seeds in a shallow baking sheet (spray sheet with a light
coating of cooking spray to prevent sticking). Bake for 45-60
minutes, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and crunchy.
This recipe may be doubled or tripled, depending on the number of
seeds you have.
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Should I use bone meal or bulb food when I plant my bulbs?
We recommend GBO Bone Meal at the time of planting, then applying a balanced bulb food once the foliage appears above the soil line in late winter/early spring.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Nitrogen can burn the actual bulb, which only needs the phosphorus and potash from bone meal in order to stimulate rooting.
But once the bulb is sending out a stem, it needs nitrogen to become strong so it won't bend over from the weight of the flowers that it sets. This is especially important for bulbs with large heavy flowers, such as tulips, ranunculus, and hyacinth.
It's also important to dig your holes or trenches a little deeper than the bulb needs to be, applying some bone meal, then a little more soil so the bulb doesn't sit directly on the food but has access to the food as it sends out roots (got to give those roots some incentive to stretch).
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- 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Step by Step:
- In a large re-sealable plastic bag, toss sweet potatoes and oil.
- Add remaining ingredients; toss to coat.
- Transfer to a greased 11" x 7" x 2" baking dish.
- Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring every 15 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings
Nutritional Analysis: One serving (3/4 cup) equals 149 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 164 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.
If you are overseeding with fescue or rye for winter, quit feeding and watering Bermuda lawns and overseed them now. Otherwise, continue to feed and water Bermuda lawns to delay their dormancy.
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