It's pumpkin season! From spiced lattes to front stoop Jack-o'-lanterns, it's the time of year when everyone goes crazy for our favorite North American curcurbit. Here is a handy recipe from Bay Area Bites for delicious Halloween Pumpkin (orSquash)Stew. Don't throw away those tasty, nutritious seeds - roast them up for a savory snack loaded with protein, zinc, copper, iron, and Vitamins E and K using this recipe from thekitchn.com! Not sure if your curcurbits are ready to pick? Try this guide.
GETTING TO KNOW OUR EMPLOYEES
Introducing Bryn Knowles, the newest member of our team! A farmer's daughter from Colorado, she discovered her love of plants and nature as a child while working in the family vegetable garden. A recent graduate from Merritt College with an AA in Landscape Architecture, Bryn has been working in the field of landscape maintenance and construction for over 16 years. She enjoys combining her love of plants, hands-on experience and artistic talent to create beautiful landscapes.
(SPRING FORWARD) FALL PLANT!
It may seem counterintuitive, but Autumn can be the best time to introduce new plants to your landscape. After summer dormancy, California natives excitedly await seasonal fall and winter rains. This is the time of year they put on new growth, stretch their roots, and many even put on a colorful foliage and flower show. As such, many local nurseries have exceptional Fall sales. Here are a few upcoming sales and events in the East Bay!
The fall sale offers the full range of California native plants, but specially features manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.), California wild lilacs (Ceanothus spp.), buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.), sages (Salvia spp.) and a wide array of subshrubs, shrubs, and trees that, for optimal success, are best planted in the fall. See a list of plants at nativeplants.org
Celebrate local native plants with the East Bay Chapter. Over 20,000 locally native plants for sale, experts available to assist with your plant needs and Sunday is family day with live music and children activities!
Featuring loads of interesting plants, including California natives, heirloom and perennial edibles, herbs, drought tolerant plants and so much more. Saturday events will include live music, delicious locavore food, raffles/auctions, vendor booths, demonstrations, and facility tours!
This shopping extravaganza will offer native plant fans a good selection of native plants and provide a more relaxed and less crowded shopping experience than one normally finds at native plant sales. Knowledgeable staff will be on hand to help shoppers select the right plants for their gardens.
Check out more Fall Workshops from BBTN here!
FALL HIGHLIGHTS & WIND-DOWNS
FIRST DAY OF FALL
On this day, the sun crosses the celestial equator for the second time in the year. Temperatures drop, and days are shorter than nights. Plants, trees and shrubs (whose water needs are influenced more by the number of hours they are exposed to sunlight rather than temperatures outside) need less water than the already conservative amount they've been getting. Time to dial down outdoor watering to once a week.
FIRST DAY OF THE WATER YEAR
It may not appear on your calendar, but this date marks the start of the EBMUD water year. The fall and winter seasons are when we look to the skies to replenish our reservoirs for the coming year and estimate next year's water needs. Tired of guessing your garden's yearly requirements? Sign up for an irrigation upgrade rebate with EBMUD and install a smart controller to do the math for you.
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME
Don't for get that after "spring forward," it's time to "fall back." When setting back your clock for daylight saving, take the time to turn down your irrigation. And remember: don't water your landscape for at least two days after any significant rainfall! Once seasonal rains arrive, it will be time to stop outdoor watering altogether.
WELO ENFORCEMENT DATE
The California Water Commission approved an important update to the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance on July 15th. Cities and counties have until December 1st to apply this updated ordinance within their respective jurisdictions to new development projects that include landscape areas over 500sqft, or adopt a different ordinance that is at least as effective in conserving water.
Governor Brown’s April 1st executive order on the drought emergency directed the DWR to update the Model Ordinance and specifically directed the department to increase water efficiency standards through: (1) more efficient irrigation systems (making submeters, pressure regulators, shut-off valves and flow sensors mandatory), (2) graywater usage incentives, (3) onsite storm water capture, and (4) by limiting the portion of landscapes that can be covered in turf and high water use plants (limited to 25%).
California fuchsias are slightly woody, perennial herbs that grow to 1 to 3 feet high. There are many named varieties, displaying varied growth habits, foliage and flower color. The striking feature of this plant is the showy, tubular flower. The four petals and the four-cleft sepal cup are typically scarlet, but some are white or pink. Two common species in California, Epilobium californica and Epilobium canum, bloom in dry portions of Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral, Oak Woodland and the Yellow Pine Forest plant communities from July through November. California fuchsias are an important nectar plant for hummingbirds during late summer.
SEASONAL TIPS FOR YOUR LANDSCAPE
PREPARING FOR RAIN!
BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES
Fingers crossed, RAIN IS COMING! Maybe a lot of it. Are you prepared? Take this time in the calm before the coming storms to clear your roof and gutters of debris. Have an arborist check on the health and well being of your trees and take down any limbs that could fall and cause damage. Where are the low spots in your yard? Are there areas in danger from flooding? Have you hooked up your rain barrels or taken steps to mitigate storm water run off? Make sure you and your property are prepared for what might be an historic 'El Nino' winter.
SAVE WATER WITH A NEW LAWN
If you're thinking about planting a lawn soon (fall is the best time to start), consider some of the newish less-thirsty types, including California native grasses. 'Native Mow Free' Is a mix of several types of fescue grasses that take some shade as well as full sun. It can be mowed for a regular turf look or left unmowed for a shaggy, lumpy look. It's best to mow it at least a couple times a year.
PLANT NEXT YEAR'S PERENNIALS
This is a great time to plant perennials for next spring and summer, including campanula, columbine, coreopsis, gaillardia, penstemon, salvia and yarrow. California native plants, of course, are wired to be in sync with our upside-down seasons. Planted in fall, they're programmed to start putting on major growth when the winter rains come, perform in spring and mostly shut down in summer, when water is scarce. Most need no water when established, have few or no problems with pests or diseases, and bloom for a long season, mainly in spring but even stretching into summer.
MULCH, MULCH, MULCH, MULCH
Using 2- 4 inches of mulch reduces water will help stabilize soil, protect it from the compacting effects of hard rain fall, improves water absorption and penetration, and helps control weeds that compete for water. Let leaf litter stay in place through fall/winter to build healthy, water retaining soils.
START PLANNING FOR BULBS
Start stocking up on favorite spring bloomers like crocuses, daffodils, freesias, hyacinths, and tulips. As a general rule, look for the fattest bulbs (much more productive than cheaper scrawny ones). Wait until October or November to plant, especially in hot climates. Chill tulip and hyacinth bulbs before planting them; place the bulbs in a paper bag and keep them in the refrigerator for six weeks.
COOL KALE & OTHER
VEGGIES FOR THE GARDEN
Kale is one of the many brassicas (think broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels spouts.. etc) to plant in the early fall. You can also try leafy greens like spinach, arugula, lettuces, chards and sorrel. Don't stop there - take advantage of our late growing season and start beets, carrots, fava beans, peas and radishes!
SOW SEED WITH WILDFLOWERS
It's usually best to sow wildflower seeds around November, when the rains may be near. Choose a spot in full sun. Prepare the ground by tilling or at least by raking it roughly. Try to cover the seeds with soil or mulch to help them stay moist for sprouting. Sprinkle with water and keep the seeds moist, if you can, until the rains come. We love the guide put out by Larner Seeds.
COVER YOUR POOL AND SPA
Did you know your pool & spa use as much water as a lawn? Use a cover to reduce evaporation when not in use, to keep your pool and/or spa water at temperature, free from falling leaves, twigs and other debris, and reduce chemical consumption use by 35-60%. Some water districts now require pool covers.
DOUBLEYour Lawn-to-Garden REBATE!
Already applied with your water district for a lawn removal rebate? Most districts offer up to $1.00 per square foot.
The State of California, through the Department of Water Resources has introduced an ADDITIONAL REBATE PROGRAM for removing turf and replacing it with water- wise landscaping - supplementing your district's rebate up to $2.00 per square foot!
This is a separate program from your water district's rebate, and has it's own application and rules. For more information on the program go to the DWR site at www.water.ca.gov/turf/.
Check Your District's Regulations, Conservation Tips & REBATES!
SFLA IS OFFERING WATER SURVEYS!
We are happy to help you and your landscape navigate the confusing and trying world of drought and irrigation.
A landscape water survey includes: an inspection of your current irrigation system for efficiency and leaks; a customized irrigation schedule that makes sense for your system, climate, soil and plant types; a personalized water budget for your landscape based on your needs and local municipal requirements; and specialized recommendations for your property and micro-climates.
Not only will smart water management reduce water waste, lower your water bills and save money - it also means healthier, longer lived plants, and a better return on your landscape investment.
Check with your water district for water survey rebates!
QWEL certified professionals have been trained on principals of proper plant selection for the local climate, irrigation system design and maintenance, and irrigation system programming and operation.