Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2003
Regional Report

Prune Top-Heavy Trees

Slightly prune top-heavy trees to reduce wind resistance by cutting out whole branches so you can look through the tree. This means wind can blow through, too. But hold off on heavy pruning until the trees are completely dormant, in January.

Harvest One Leaf at a Time

Harvest leafy crops, such as lettuce and spinach, by removing only the outer leaves. Let the three or four center leaves develop further. The plant will continue growing -- and you'll continue harvesting and eating -- throughout the season until spring warmth causes the plant to go to seed. By then, you'll soon be harvesting spring-sown or transplanted greens to supply your salads.

Transplant Winter Veggies

Transplant globe artichokes, jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, horseradish, and rhubarb. Also transplant cane berries, grapes, and strawberries. But do so only when the soil is not waterlogged. If it crumbles after squeezing a fistful, it\'s ok; if it squishes or stays in a lump, it\'s too wet.

Wait to Cut Asparagus Ferns

Wait to cut asparagus ferns until they've turned completely brown, generally after the first hard frost. By then, they've reabsorbed all their energy back into the crowns for next year's edible shoots. Cutting them sooner means throwing away these recycled nutrients. Trim the fronds at soil level rather than yanking them so you don't injure the crowns.

Anchor Young Trees

Anchor young trees with stakes and ties to stabilize them against winter winds, but not so tightly that the tree can't sway in the breeze. This movement helps the roots develop into strong anchors that firmly establish the tree.

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