September Begins the Garden Year
When I moved back to Southern California in the 1990’s I took my garden cues from Robert Smaus, Garden Editor of the Los Angeles Times. In his legendary book, 52 Weeks in the California Garden he makes an elegant distinction “between gardening in Southern California and gardening elsewhere.” Smaus goes on to say, “In our climate, fall is spring, at least as far as planting is concerned, and autumn, not spring, should be our busiest time in the garden.”
This year, the weather has cooled to some autumn norms and I’m preparing to plant my fall and winter crops. The cool season garden (think lettuce, broccoli, carrots, kale, arugula) is easy and a great time for new gardeners to venture into the garden. There are fewer pests and weeds, reduced watering (especially when we get rain). The pace seems less harried.
Renee Shepherd, owner of Renee’s Garden, a California seed company touts the virtues of the Second Season Garden:
“Late planted crops have less competition from weeds and pests and grow beautifully with less garden work. In mild-winter areas of the country, you'll have great harvests in time for Thanksgiving and many crops will hold perfectly through the low light winter months without bolting to seed or becoming bitter tasting as they would in the heat of early summer.”
The seasons are changing—the summer garden yields to the winter garden. The tomatoes, summer and winter squash are finishing their run in my garden. Corn, green beans and eggplant departed recently. Peppers and zinnias will continue into the fall.
Follow along as I plant my winter garden over the coming weeks.