Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2004
Regional Report

Planting Onions

You'll get larger onion bulbs that won't bolt in early spring if you sow seeds or transplant seedlings now. Store-bought sets -- little baby bulblets about half an inch in width -- are often left on display indoors where temperatures are too warm for too long, and they frequently bolt during the first spring warmth. If you want to use sets, plant the larger ones to use for green onions through the winter, and plant the dime-sized ones for next year's bulbs.

Transplant Strawberries

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

Start Shutting Down Roses

Discontinue watering and feeding roses, and mulch with manure and compost. Prune them lightly to remove the long, bloomed-out canes, but save hard pruning until January when plants are fully dormant. Severe pruning now will encourage new growth that will be damaged with the first frosts, wasting all that plant energy.

Mark the Dead Wood

While trees and shrubs still have leaves on them, prune dead wood or mark them with paint so you won\'t miss them later when you do your other winter dormant pruning in January. With all leaves gone then, you won\'t be able to tell if a branch is dead or just needs pruning.

Sow Cover Crops

Sow winter cover crops, including fava beans, clover, 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, especially when it'll also nourish the garden in the spring. You don't have to have a large garden to grow a cover crop -- just consider it a lawn that doesn't need mowing.

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