Here in Zone 8b of the High Desert, we have a gorgeous Fall throughout most of the area, with temperatures at night staying in the 50s if not 60s well into the end of October. Of course, Wrightwood, our High Desert mountain community, is the exception. For those who still wish to expand on your gardens, you can return to your cool weather planting and enjoy crops such as spinach, lettuce, radishes, and any heavy winter greens such as kale or collards. Many of these heavy winter greens will even “winter over” for you, providing an early Spring crop until they go to seed. Our beautiful Fall is also a great time to divide plants and put out perennials such as lilac, butterfly bushes, or any other shrubbery you would like to add to your landscaping, especially any of the gorgeous drought-tolerant desert plants available at your local nurseries.
At Moonstruck Farms, the days are shortening, and the temperatures are staying cooler even with today’s spike in heat. The dahlias are blooming like crazy in the 20×40 greenhouse, and we will be expanding on these now that we have found the best method of growing these gorgeous flowers here on the farm. The last round of lilies has been planted for the season, and we have put in a few feet of sunflowers just to see how far we can push the season here. Sunflowers are quite frost-hardy, so I believe we have plenty of time to get some gorgeous stems for the Fall holidays. The tomatoes are coming in beautifully and will continue to ripen until the first freeze, and some of the shorter day flowers are trying to bloom again. These include the carnations, snapdragons, and daisies, but they will not come back in full force until the Spring.
At your local markets, you will find the end of summer to create some of the best shopping possible from your local farms. The tomatoes and peppers are pumping out, but at the same time, you are starting to see winter squashes such as Delicata from Finca Bonita Farms at the Phelan Certified Farmers Market (CFM). The Phelan CFM runs every Monday from 2pm to 6pm and will move back to the Phelan Community Center parking lot on September 13th after being closed for Labor Day on September 6th. This will provide the market with the light necessary to stay open until 6pm until November 1st. The Wrightwood Farmers Market is currently on Fridays 4pm to 7pm. Both markets run year-round. Stay tuned for hour changes as Winter approaches.