New to winter gardening; plant acclimation & fertilizing
We are new to a mountain area in SoCal (z7); winter temps get into the low teens (F). How long do we have to plant this year--can we keep going into the winter or should we stop at some interval before the first frost (~ end of Oct.). Of course, I am using cold-hardy plants (shrubs, primarily). but they will come from nurseries that although nearby are at lower altitudes (= more like z8/9).
Even genetically cold-hardy plants would, I assume, need to be acclimated to the greater cold they will experience here vs. where they were grown. Can we buy the lower-altitude plants and acclimate them up here before putting them in the ground? How long should we give them to adjust? Presumably we would have to provide shelter at first (especially if it's started freezing up here).
Also, when we plant, can we use preplant fertilizer (6-1-1 is what I usually use; Gro-Power) or will the higher N content stimulate soft growth too much? Should we use any preplant fert. considering that we are planting as the weather is cooling off?
Thanks very much for any help.