October Rain | Time to Sow Seed and Plant Bulbs

Its a perfect day for planting in the High Desert. We just had a nice October rain and there is 20% chance of rain for the rest of the day. It is warm and balmy with a light wind. In spite of pressing deadlines in other arenas of my life, I am taking a couple hours off for planting.

Today’s Planting List

  1. Coyote Poop
  2. Lettuce
  3. Snow peas
  4. Tulipa pulchella, Persian Pearl
  5. Apple Blossom Tulips, Triumph Tulips
  6. Pink Buttercups, Oxalis adenophylla
  7. Crocus Flavus
  8. Crocus vernus


Coyote Poop

Yes, Coyote poop.  Coyotes eat local fruits, treat the seeds, and leave them in prefertilized packages. Skip coyote poop that is full of fur, feathers, or bones.  Instead, look for poop that is a crumbly mixture of seeds and dark, earthy matrix.  Big thanks to Wendy Walker for adding coyote poop to my gardening bag of tricks.

I mostly collected coyote poop for habitat restoration at Juniper Flats, but I thought I would tuck a pinch or two into the soil in my yard and watch to see what happens. The plan is to plant the poop in loose soil where I would like a shrubs or small trees to grow, add rocks on top and wait to see what comes up. I think I will put a little coyote poop where I buried broken cement (rip rap) in modified hugel kulture piles to mimic rock outcrops.  (O.k. so  this blog is still bouncing around in the back of my head.)


According to my mother, lettuce only germinates during rainstorms.  I haven’t observed lettuce germinating at other times, so when the rain clouds roll in over the San Bernardino Mountains, I scatter lettuce seeds and rake them in.  It is also a good idea to cover them with mesh that keeps the white crowned sparrow from eating both seeds and seedlings.

Snow Peas

I plant these natural nitrogen fixers in the fall for late winter and spring enjoyment.  When weather heats up in spring snow peas will develop a white mold.  When that happens, pull them up for the compost pile and save some seeds for next year. I have been know to fill big black trash bags of freshly picked snow peas and lettuce for distribution among neighbors in May when hot weather is expected.

Tulipa pulchella, Persian Pearl

I picked up a box of Persian Pearl Ditch bulbs at Winco.  This was a totally spontaneous purchase.  In general, tulips do very well in High Desert Gardens.  Since different tulip species like slightly different microhabitats, I did a quick search on the internet.  It appears that I should plant the bulbs in places that maintain “medium moisture” during winter months and have dry soil in summer.  Maybe I’ll put them at the base of berms that border my swales.

Apple Blossom Tulips, Triumph Tulips

I bought these Triumph type tulips at Winco.  A quick internet search suggests that I should put these in a shady location that gets dry between watering events or stays dry in summer months.  Maybe under my fruit trees in the back yard.

Pink Buttercups, Oxalis adenophylla

Bulbs for pink buttercups is another spontaneous purchase from the bulb rack at Winco.  A quick internet search suggests that pink buttercups can attract and spread rust species to fruit trees and some vegetatbles.  Glad I did my homework, I was going to use them as a ground cover under my fruit trees.  Maybe I’ll put them in the front yard adjacent to some of my bioswales.

Crocus Flavus

Another Winco impulse purchse.  I have had good luck with growing Crocus in a shady depression adjacent to a sidewalk.  A quick internet search suggests that the bulbs should not get too hot or dry in the summer.  Based on that information, I think I’ll find another depression near a sidewalk, road, or big rock.

Crocus vernus

Same basic info as Crocus Flavus.

Additional Information

Bird Talk: The White Crowned Sparrow. Greg Dunne. January 4, 2012. Accessed October 30, 2016.

Crocus Flavus.  John Grimshaw. Alpine Garden Society. Accessed October 30, 2016.

Germination of Native and Exotic Plant Seeds Dispersed by Coyotes (Canis Latrans) in Souhern California. The Southwestern Naturalist 50(4):472-478. 2005.  Accessed October 30, 2016.

Germination Rates of Tree Seeds Ingested by Coyotes and Raccoons. American Midland Naturalist 142(Jul 1999):71-76 · January 2009. Accessed October 30, 2016.

Half-Ass Hugelkultur. Northwest Edible Life. March 28, 2012 by

Plant Guide | Dutch Crocus | Crocus Vernus.  Fine Gardening. Accessed October 30, 2016.

Tulipa puchella, Persian Pearl (Botanical Tulip). Gardenia | Creating Gardens. Accessed October 30, 2016.

Tulip Apple Blossom Mix. Longfield Gardens. Accessed October 30, 2016.

Tulip Cultivation Guide. Longfield Gardens. Accessed October 30, 2016.


About Caliche Chick

I retired from a career as an Environmental Scientist and Botanist. My first career was teaching science and English as a Second Language (ESL), and content classes for ESL students at the middle school level. I also taught introductory biology at the community college level. I have an avid interest in plants that grow with little to no irrigation. I also keep a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and back yard chickens. When I am not in my yard, I am taking Construction Technology Classes at Victor Valley College and working on my "fixer upper" home.
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2 Responses to October Rain | Time to Sow Seed and Plant Bulbs

  1. CastIronDan says:

    I’m intrigued by the thought of planting coyote poop! It seems brilliant. I may try that as well… be sure to update if anything sprouts from this…


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