While gardeners in other parts of the country spend November and December preparing their yards for the cold and snow of winter, Southern California's gardening year could be just kicking off.
Fall is an excellent season for major landscaping because the weather is still fairly warm, but not hot - giving new lawns and plants and early start before battling the heat and pests of summer. This is also the best time to plant early winter and spring flowering annuals, perennials and bulbs.
Colorful annuals to consider adding to your landscaping for an instant fix include: snapdragons, pansies, primroses, calendulas, stock, dianthus and violas.
If you're tired of caring constantly for your garden this is also a good time to plant hanging baskets and flower pots. Container gardening is much easier in the fall and winter months because plants need less water in the milder temperatures and you don't have to worry as much about pests.
Cool season grasses like bluegrass, fescue and rye hit their stride during the fall, making this an excellent time to seed or sod these types of lawns. In older cool season lawns, growth will begin to pick up as rains come, so they need to be fertilized well and mowed often on through the winter months. If you fail to constantly mow and fertilize your cool season grass lawn during the winter it can become susceptible to fungus and rust.
Fall is also a good time to feed all the established plants in your yard. In fact, I recommend you feed year round - a minimum of four times, because our soils in San Diego County aren't rich enough to sustain vigorous growth without a little help.
The only potential problem Southern California gardeners face during the fall months is the hot, dry wind of a Santa Ana. If the winds come, don't forget that everything in your garden will need some extra water.