The weather has turned crisp. October in our non freeze zone  has some hot days but most are cool. Now is time to get the shovel and dig up a plot, no matter how small, and amend it. We can plant cool weather plants in Zone 9 &10. (California and entire South and South West.

LIST: kale, chard, parsley raddichio, arugula, lettuce, mesclan, peas, cabbage impatiens, wax begonia, snapdragon, Pelargonium, coleus and petunia. Some biennials that can be grown as annuals are violas, pansy and hollyhock, calendula, sweet peas, both flowering and edible,  summer stock, decorative cabbage dianthus, carnation, alyssum,cyclamen, and primula bulbs: dutch BULBS go in FRIDGE now, crocosimia should be put in the ground. African bulbs too. Google these to see what they are then HIT HOME DEPOT and get some!.

DIG A BED three feet wide, l0 feet long TAKE all the soil manure, amendments, mulch, at least THREE big BAGS and dump it there and dig it in to a depth of a foot. Blend it well, no lumps. Rake will do that job.

Now, IN BACK of this bed against the cement fence, plant Hollyhocks and SWEET PEAS . One seed every few inches. Sometimes two together, to break up the monotony. The HOLLYHOCKS get tall in Spring and the peas will climb up them. You can try sunflowers in back too, if there is no freeze there in Winter. Sweetpeas need that fast growing tall plant behind them. CANNA LILLIES are another tall fast growing plant IF YOU did not have tall rapid growing plants a long fencing of chicken wire is also good, placed against wall. HAVE ANY?  OR you use nails and string but if your wall is cement cannot be penetrated by nails.

So that's why we plant tall canna, sunflowers or hollyhocks there. Of course, you can go out and buy something that stands high and grows fast. And has a sturdy stem. EUGENIA trees. EU means GOOD. GENE means growing and they grow fast which is why they got that name. But I feel. SUNFLOWERS will do fine

GOT ALL THAT DONE? Now, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE to find annuals and plant them in the front part of the bed. Cool weather annuals thrive only when the weather is cool. Once it gets hot, they are done for the season. So these flowers will last you until MARCH! MAYBE MAY. Cold tolerance is simply based on the ability to withstand low temperatures. Some cold-tolerant annuals are also cool weather plants, peaking by early to midsummer. Examples of cold-tolerant/cool weather plants are spinach, lettuce, radishes, peas, pansies, godetia and calendula. ( I HAVE TONS OF CALENDULA SEED ask me for an envelope.)

In our area,  gardeners have good luck with snapdragons and sweet alyssum. Petunias, too, are actually fairly cold tolerant when acclimated and some varieties will bloom on and on. Acclimated pansies can tolerate several degrees below freezing, so they are usually the first to be planted. Most other bloomers tolerate light frosts, but not freezing. Acclimated cold-tolerant vegetables can be planted as soon as the ground is workable.

All the annuals mentioned will do fine in containers, but keep in mind that they will not have the benefit of the warmth in the ground to help them on cold nights. You might want to wait an extra week or two before planting containers, or fill them with the hardiest of the plants available. Covering the plants with something lightweight will give you a few degrees insurance. IF TEMPS DIP below 36, be sure to remove the cover before the sun hits the plants Watch for white patches on the leaves. That happens when either the plant was not fully acclimated or it was just too cold. Give the plant a few days to recover, then snip out any leaves that are still white or have browned.

There are things to help increase the cold tolerance of annuals. Keep them as healthy as possible. Make sure they aren't water stressed and fertilize very lightly while it is still cold to avoid lots of tender new growth. You may also find that annuals that withstand 2-3 degrees of frost in the fall are damaged when it gets that cold in spring. Why? Growing through the season, plants become very adaptable and tough and they have had time to adjust to the gradually cooler temperatures before a frost hits. Annuals that have been properly acclimated in spring are young, with tender tissue, making them less tolerant at that point in their lives.

Cold-Tolerant Annuals
Viola a kind of pansy
Sweet Alyssum Calendula
Stock called SUMMER STOCK but it really works well in WINTER
Snapdragon This you get at HOME DEPOT.
Dianthus is a kind of carnation.
Sweet Peas
Forget Me Not

Cold-Tolerant Vegetables (we brought seed from store for this one.)
CHICORY, Lettuce & arugula
Radish, beets and turnip
Peas and carrots
Spinach and romaine, butter lettuce
Cabbage and Cauliflower
Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts
Kale and Swiss Chard