Roy Wilburn: Here in the Poway gardens of Sunshine Care, we have been planting our fall veggies since mid-August. We managed to keep them alive during the heat spells and should have some nice broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and kale very soon. August and September were tough months for lettuce, but we should be harvesting around 40 pounds a week from now until the end of spring and into early summer. We are also in the process of redoing some of the landscaping with wildflowers and succulents. We tried in the middle of summer but were not very successful. We should be fine now that the weather has changed. Our low water users should be happy and quickly become established.
Sharon Swildens: Because I have lost so many plants (even natives) this year, I am in a holding pattern on planting. No bulbs, no trees, only potted plants that have been waiting for a spot to go in (due to impulse buying last year), will be planted (except an aloe I bought at the Palomar District of California Garden Clubs luncheon). It’s re-evaluation time. I took out my grass last month and put in “walking” (1/8 inch stone). Now I need to find out the work (keeping the leaves off it) plus how hot the area will be with the stone reflection of the sun’s rays. Also, I need to discover how to keep the night critters from digging up the surrounding wood chips and depositing the dirt and chips on my stone. Plus I need to know how much water I will save. (Poway).
Susi Torre-Bueno: It’s still too hot to plant here in Vista as I write this in late September, but my mother-in-law, Evelyn Torre-Bueno, has already purchased some daffodils to plant in our veggie raised beds. She’s done this for he last few years, but this year I think I’m going to put them inside some squirrel-proof wire baskets so they stay put. Once it cools off I’m going to start replacing virtually all the plants that died from the drought (even though we did water) with succulent cuttings from other parts of the garden. Our aloes did especially well, and most of the other succulents are also thriving. The foliage colors are beautifully varied and the hummingbirds are always around as one kind of aloe or another is in bloom all year. I plan to take Agave attenuate (foxtail agave, which has no spines) and plant a lot of offsets in large clumps on an especially steep slope for years of lovely blue-green foliage with no maintenance and almost no water needed.
Dayle Cheever: I have put off my fall vegetable garden until we have at least a couple weeks of cooler temps. Even at the beach it is too hot to plant the leafy greens that I look forward to all year. I know I would be able to keep them alive, but pouring water on the garden does not sit well with me. I have moved more drought tolerant plants into my decorative beds and have been using rain barrel water to keep many of these plants happy. Fortunately the few, short rain events we have had, filled my rain barrel to the brim. If El Nino actually arrives I am planning on opening many, as yet unused flower seed packets and spreading them all over my yard to see what happens.
Joan Kistner: I just moved to the San Diego area from Minnesota, so I probably won’t be planting anything this fall. I joined the Horticultural Society to learn about the new possibilities that aren’t available in Minesota. (92021)
Marilyn Guidroz: Thank you for the timely topic. I am recommending that we install new plants during the month of November. My personal garden is going to get some new fruit trees, since the gophers took some of mine out! Black Mission fig, low chill apple, and another pineapple guava. I am also preparing for some natives to be planted. Toyon (my favorite), Catalina cherry (my other favorite), and believe it or not, a California sycamore. The Salvia mellifera (Black sage) is also going to be coming to my native garden this year. Best of gardening to you all.
Joan Braunstein: Probably a cover crop. Maybe a few herbs to companion with volunteer tomatoes. (92103)
Diana Shurtleff: I have a fair-sized shower. I’m one of those people who likes to shower once a day. During the drought, as I watched all that water pour down the drain, especially while the water is heating up, it was really difficult. I thought “Hey, I can at least catch the water while it’s becoming warm”’ So I bought a large, blue plastic bin to catch all the water while it’s warming up. Not only that, I step out of the way while I’m lathering my hair and a few other times and all that water goes in the container as well. You wouldn’t think it would add up to much but by the second shower, the bucket is full, which is about the equivalent of approximately 25 gallons of water. A little soap may get in, but not enough to worry about. During the summer I have a large patch of grass that dies back, since the sprinklers miss it and the heat is too much. It’s all green this summer. If it weren’t for that patch of grass I’d have more than 100 gallons stored by now, or more! I invested in a few rain barrels. Last rain, which by San Diego standards wasn’t much, I got about 25 gallons. I have to distribute the water or my barrels will be full (3 of them) so my plants get much more regular watering than before. I have always fought rust on my roses, but with regular watering and pulling the leaves at first sight, it is no longer a problem. I’m the only one person in the house; I can’t imagine how much water you could garner with a family of 3 or 4, or even just one more person.
Dale Serafin: If I can combat weed growth and win, it will be great. I planted Dymondia. I have no idea of what to plant in my raised garden planters. Please tell me. (92069)
Cathy Tylka: Planting or planning for next year… Well, let’s start out with nurturing what ends up living in my garden and after it rains I will also propagate from living plants. I really want a fairy duster tree; they are messy but so pretty, so I will not plant it where it will be brought in on your feet. Also, I have problems growing bougainvillea, believe it or not, so I will try again, as it seems to be everywhere, except in my yard. Thanks for asking! (92026)
Marilyn Wilson: I’m planting anything and everything this fall, only after it starts to rain REGULARLY. I have been moving new purchases into larger pots to help them survive heat while they wait for a good planting time. (92084)
Steve Zolezzi: I have started seeds to plant beginning November 1st. I will be looking to do divisions of some plants, mostly succulents, and see what favorite nurseries have available that doesn’t need lots of water. In anticipation of a wet winter I’m amending soil for good drainage and laying in organics for good root growth. Most important will be sacrifices to the gods, so that it all comes together as planned. (92021)
Laird Plumleigh: As Yogi Berra said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” I am sitting in front of my computer perspiring and have not a clue as to how to deal with the coming “winter” and “spring.” I would suggest that gardeners refer to a somewhat similar El Niño climate in the late 1990s and plan on that module and then factor in Global Warming.
Donna Gottfried: I have planted a cherimoya tree and two raised beds of fall garden veggies, including turnip, rutabaga, kohlrabi and one fall tomato. To increase my success with this heat, I purchased two inexpensive patio umbrellas and cut fabric out between every other spoke, to provide partial shade to new plants, so they can get established. Raised beds are irrigated on a timer with drip tubing between rows of veggies. (92024)
Chris Elliott: Succulents. (92078)
Paula Suttle: I planted a Chinese Flame tree a month ago or less and hope that I am watering it enough. As soon as the weather cools I want to buy more lemonade berry bushes and exciting natives. I have planted them the last three months, sporadically but have lost about half. In the middle of the last rainfall (we got one inch, or so in Poway) I threw out 2 large packages of native/drought tolerant flower seeds!
Ken Selzer: Fall vegetables in raised beds: onions, radishes, herbs, shallots, leeks, peppers. Any good resources available for help with problems that occur with the vegetable beds? (92024)
Kathleen Voltin:October 10th I transplanted seedlings of beets, sugar peas, Walla Walla onions, and bunching green onions. I also sowed carrot seeds and marigolds. I put some garlic cloves in the ground. I am trying some sweet potato plants; they are about 10 inches tall. I put a few dried pineapple tops in containers. (92111)
Susan Oddo: The promised El Niño means and auspicious time to plant natives. The abundant rainwater should give them an opportunity to develop deep, healthy root systems in preparation for surviving our increasingly hot summer and fall days. Typically, El Niño years come in twos, which should further strengthen them, as well as give them time to develop a large enough crown to shade their roots. That shade also means a better chance for surviving the low humidity, high heat months that seems to be our new normal. Natives can go in as soon as it starts to cool down. If you are looking to add trees, the early spring, after danger of frost is past, will be a good time to do so. Trees absorb CO2, clean the air of pollutants, add oxygen to our atmosphere, cool the temperature of your garden by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, reduce the need for air conditioning by as much as 50 percent, and they slow ground water evaporation, keeping plants moist longer. Our own tree book is a terrific source for selecting the right tree mix for San Diego gardens. (92029)
Diane Bailey: I am planting nothing until the weather cools off, if it ever does.
Polly Martin: I am waiting until the end of October to plant my raised bed with greens for salads. Last year I had organic lettuce from my garden all winter. (92026)
Kathleen Arciero: Gosh, with this hot weather we’re putting on hold so many activities in our garden. Doing some demo work on the slope, planning the front yard renovation. I see us turning to more friendly succulents and water-wise plantings. We’ll be doing lots more container gardening, like we did last spring.
Nikki Alexander: I will be planting next month with Aloe, Agave, Palo Verde, Sumac and Silk Oak trees; Euphorbia tirucalli, canna lilies and iris, with a couple of unknown cactus mixed in for fun. I am in a high desert community and we are fortunate to have our own well water, but conservation is preached and practiced. (92536)
Gerald D. Stewart says while he is only now beginning to figure out his gardening priorities for the near future, he knows he will be adding startlingly colorful variegated and colorated moderate-growing shrubs to his Kaleidoscopic Hedge, anticipating that the potential El Niño rains will help them get well established before next year's heat. Plus, for fun, a late start planting sweet peas; and getting one of the greenhouse benches back in order to provide a space for newly acquired dwarf zonal pelargoniums and to overwinter what's left of the coleus collection. (92084)