What to do in the garden this week – Orange County Register
5 things to do in the garden this week
1. Pansies are the classic annuals for October planting. There is no happier way to greet guests as they walk towards your front door than to place pansies with their cheeky and mustachioed faces on either side of the entryway. They are also excellent candidates for containers if you are cautious about planting pansies in the ground because of their susceptibility to soil fungal diseases. There can be no greater mistake than planting pansies in soil where they have died prematurely, whether you planted them last week or last year. I’ve seen pansies planted in the fall that last into the following June, so they’re not inherently short-lived. However, due to the persistence of pathogenic soil fungi, you must wait at least two years to plant pansies in soil where a previous crop of them failed not long after planting. When planting, make sure the root ball is raised half an inch above the soil surface as this provides an extra level of drainage that could prevent soil fungi from attacking. Incidentally, the same policy of planting above the level applies to the annual Vinca, which is also very susceptible to disease and can also be planted in the autumn garden. It is recommended to mulch around your pansies to keep soil moisture consistent. Plant Majestic Giant Pansies 20cm apart and smaller flowering varieties 15cm apart in rich, well-composted soil. Although they will tolerate a bit of shade, they do best in full sun. You want to avoid getting the foliage wet, so water from below if possible. Pansies survive a frost and will tolerate winter temperatures down to 10 degrees if not colder, even if their foliage takes on a gray cast in such extreme cold. You can plant pansies in soil where bulbs will be planted, allowing the color of the pansies to cover the otherwise bare soil until the flowers appear from your bulbs in spring.
2. If you haven’t already taken action to promote fire safety, do so now, especially if you live near a wilderness area. California law requires you to keep 100 feet of “defensible space” around your home. The first 30 feet are designated the “Lean, Clean, and Green Zone” and should be free of low-growing grasses, wood and compost heaps, and so-called fire escape plantings. A fire escape consists of plants that grow in height as they approach a structure. In other words, you want to plant trees furthest from your home and specimens of decreasing size—shrubs followed by ground covers—as you get closer, rather than the other way around. The next 70 feet is the “Reduced Fuel Zone” removing taller grasses, thinning out shrubs and removing low hanging branches. It’s also a good idea to cut off vines that are climbing up your outside walls and keep the trunks clear of any branches below three feet in height.
3. If you managed to keep last year’s potted poinsettia alive, you deserve a compliment. To get your modified leaves or bracts turning red in December, provide 13 hours of uninterrupted darkness from 5pm to 8am starting today, followed by 11 hours of good light. For the period of total darkness place it in a cupboard or place a cardboard over it but make sure no light gets in as the smallest amount of light will disrupt its biochemistry and prevent the desired color change which you may not otherwise see until March . Water only when the soil is dry, every seven to ten days. Poinsettias grow outdoors throughout Los Angeles and in eastern, southern, and northwestern locations along the coast as long as they are protected from severe cold. This can be accomplished by planting against an east-facing stucco wall. Not only does the heat absorbed during the day radiate toward the poinsettia at night, providing some protection from the cold, but the morning sun helps it thaw quickly if it froze the previous night.
4. Amaryllis belladonna, known as the naked lady, defies conventional wisdom when it comes to bulbs. Firstly, when it comes to naked ladies, you need almost a year of patience, because if they are planted at the right time, which is now, you will have to wait until next summer to see them bloom. Second, you don’t plant them below the surface like other bulbs, which should be planted two to three times their length at a depth, you want the tips of the Naked Lady bulbs to stick out a bit above the ground. You never need to water them as long as we get a few inches of winter rain, but this measure of benevolent carelessness when it comes to watering applies to many other bulbs as well. The Naked Lady designation refers to the fact that its leaves appear in summer, turn brown and practically disappear before fragrant pink trumpet flowers appear on long, impressive stalks. After their flowers have dwindled, nude females enter dormancy around this time if you wish to share large clusters of their bulbs. If you divide their bulbs during active growth, you will have to wait several years before they bloom again.
5. Seeds of umbelliferous vegetables and herbs, those with fern-like leaves, resist easy germination. Umbellifers, all ready to plant now, include carrots, parsley, parsnips, fennel and coriander. You can speed up germination by pouring boiling water directly over your seeds once they have been planted in a well prepared garden bed. Alternatively, moisten some peat moss, place it on a paper plate, and mix your seeds with the moss. Then place the plates, moss and seeds in a ziplock bag to store in your freezer for 24 hours. Once removed from the freezer, place the ziplock bag on a seedling heat mat (available from online retailers for under $15) until the seeds begin to sprout. At this point they can be planted in the garden row or in containers covered with some compost or potting soil.
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https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/13/fire-safety-and-prepping-pansies-what-to-do-in-the-garden-this-week/ What to do in the garden this week – Orange County Register