Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2003
Regional Report

Plant Winter Veggies

Sow or transplant fava beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, coriander (cilantro), garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce (especially romaine types and small-heading bibb and buttercrunch types, which thrive with only minimal damage from light frosts), mustards, green and bulb onions, parsley (the flat-leaf type is hardier than the curly one), peas, radishes, shallots, and spinach, (especially the curly-leaf savoy types). By planting now, some of these veggies will mature sufficiently so you can be eating them all winter long. Others will establish good root systems and be ready for the great growth spurt in spring.

Plan for Winter Color

Sow or transplant alyssum, Japanese anemones, baby's breath, bachelor's buttons, bleeding hearts, calendula, campanula (canterbury bells, bellflower), candytuft, columbines, coral bells, coreopsis, cyclamen, gazania, English and Shasta daisies, delphiniums, dianthus (carnations, pinks, sweet William), forget-me-nots, foxgloves, gaillardia, hollyhocks, larkspur, linaria, lunaria (honesty, money plant, silver dollar plant), lupine, penstemon, phlox, California and Iceland and Shirley poppies, primroses, rudbeckias (coneflowers, gloriosa daisies, black-eyed-susans), snapdragons, stock, sweet peas, violas (Johnny-jump-ups, pansies, violets), and regionally adapted wildflowers.

Plant Cover Crops

You don't have to have a large garden to grow a cover crop, just consider it a lawn that doesn't need mowing. Sow winter cover crops, including fava beans, clovers, peas, annual rye, and vetch, to be turned under in the spring as green manure. When winter's gloom has settled in, it's nice to see something green besides weeds growing, especially when it'll also fertilize the garden in the spring.

Transplant Strawberries

Transplant strawberries now so they'll develop sturdy root systems over the winter, ready to burst into lush foliage and heavy fruit set in the spring. Dig in lots of manure and compost first to feed roots over the winter and through the summer.

Paint Deciduous Trees

Provide protection for deciduous tree trunks because they can be damaged more by first frosts than by later ones. Sunscald also is a problem during the winter, especially on the south- and west-facing surfaces of young trees with thin barks. Use inexpensive indoor latex paint (outdoor oil paint will smother the tree). Dilute by half with water, and literally slop it on so the paint gets into all the bark's nooks and crannies.

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