Southern California gardening is like that of no other region. At this time of year in the East, plants are preparing for the long, cold winter by putting their strength into seeds and roots. In Mexico, native plants such as zinnias, dahlias, marigolds and tuberoses start reserving their strength to carry them through the dry winter. But here, the natural growing period is just beginning. That means it's a good time to plant pansies, Iceland poppies, calendulas, stock, ranunculus and primroses.
Sow winter rye lawns during the latter half of this month, using 20 pounds of rye and four sacks of steer manure for 2,000 square feet. If you plant the day after Halloween, your new lawn won't get trampled by trick-or-treaters. Save a small amount seed for patching.
The best way to plant a wildflower garden is to cultivate the soil, give it a good soaking and then in two weeks hoe down the weeds that have started to come up. You won't be able to get them all, but even so you will give the wildflower seeds an advantage. Then sow the wildflower seed; don't just scatter it about or you'll simply be feeding birds and mice. Keep the area watered between rains.