Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2001
Regional Report

Cultivate the Soil


Cultivate the soil around bedding plants. Use an Ames hoe or a long handled cultivator to keep the soil turned. Cultivation prevents weed seeds from germinating and allows water and fertilizer to reach the roots easily. I like to cultivate after every rain to keep the soil looking fluffy.

Levitate!

Avoid walking in garden beds after a rainfall. Walking on damp soil compacts it, ruining the texture. A loose soil texture is important so that roots can penetrate easily. Use stepping stones in areas that you must walk through for regular maintenance, or lay down pieces of 2 x 4 to spread the weight across a larger surface.

Care for Gift Plants

Poinsettias, Christmas cactus and cyclamen all need a little loving care to get them through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Provide light, humidity and keep them free from drafts. Humidity can be provided by placing a gravel in the saucer beneath the plant. Do not set gift plants on heat producing appliances such as televisions or stereos.

Maintain Garden Tools


Next month, pruning begins in earnest, so clean and sharpen clippers and saws so that they are ready for action. To clean and sharpen your cutting tools you will need a flat file, a round file and some lubricating spray such as WD40. If you like, you can treat wooden handles to a coating of linseed oil. After sharpening, use a lubricating oil on all moving parts and clean the blades with a wire brush to remove any dirt or debris.

Care for Living Christmas Trees Indoors

Provide extra humidity for Christmas trees by misting daily. Water by adding two trays of ice cubes to the surface of the soil daily. Don?t place trees near heater vents, opening doors, or near any heat producing appliance. Turn on tree lights only when you are in the room to enjoy them. Lights, even the small twinkle types, produce heat with damages foliage.

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