Red pomegranates hang like jewels in contrast to the leaves that will soon yellow and drop

Red pomegranates hang like jewels in contrast to the lush green leaves that will soon turn yellow and drop




Autumn has a arrived. The fruit and nut trees are shedding leaves and preparing for winter dormancy. Pumpkins are taking center stage for harvest festivals and Halloween decorations. Apples have been gathered are are being peeled and cored for pies and cider making.



If you are thinking about putting away your gardening gloves and stashing your trowel and wheelbarrow, hold on a minute. It’s possible to extend the growing season from summer into autumn and even later . . . by taking a few precautions.



Pumpkins show orange and yellow, signalling the arrival of the cool season

Pumpkins in my garden sport golden shades of orange and yellow, signalling arrival of the cool season



As the sun slants lower in the sky giving us shorter days, less light, and fewer hours to garden, there are some plants that will grow just fine during the cool days of fall.



However, you must select the right plants for the cool season. In addition, you’ll increase your plants’ survival rate by growing them in raised beds and boxes with good soil and aged manure. Wet them well if a cold front comes through (it’s counter-intuitive but moisture will protect their roots). Keep them warm at night with plant covers that you take off during the day when they can make the most of the sun’s warmth and light.



Consider growing some of these cool season crops: beet, bok choy, broccoli, bulb onion, chard, fava bean, garlic, green onion, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, radish, spinach, and turnip. I’ve found many of these plants available at my local DIY garden center during the past two weeks.




Coffee Cake, a variety of Fuyu persimmon will soon be picking ripe

Coffee Cake, a new variety of Fuyu persimmon I’m growing will soon be ripe for picking, slicing, and serving



For November, depending on weather conditions in local microclimates, Northern California gardeners can grow fava bean, garlic, greens, leek, lettuce, onion, pea, radish, and spinach as well as some perennial herbs, especially in boxes and/or pots on the patio or in protected places such as porches.




The pumpkin vine, now over 25 feet long, still have numerous blooms and tennis ball size green pumpkins

My pumpkin vines, over 25 feet long, still have numerous blooms and lemon-size green pumpkins hanging on




Because of Northern California’s mild Mediterranean climate, gardeners can enjoy cultivating plants from spring through the fall, not just during our hot summer months. If it gets too chilly for the poor honeybees to pollinate, get yourself a soft watercolor brush and do the pollination yourself.



Finally, it’s worth noting that during our rainy season, the water for the garden falls from the sky rather than from the hose. One of the many reasons not to put away the garden tools just yet.

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