Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2001
Regional Report

Set Carnivorous Plants Outdoors

Most carnivorous plants need a resting period in the winter. Sundews and venus fly traps should be placed outside in a protected area. Make sure to keep the reservoir filled with distilled or spring water during the rest period. Don\'t worry if frosts are predicted. Most carnivores are hardy to 22 degrees.

Frost Watch

Clear days with no wind usually mean that cold night time temperatures will follow. Protect citrus and succulents if frost is predicted. A covering of newspaper is sufficient. Larger plants such as bougainvillea should be protected with burlap, bedspreads or sheets. For additional protection, place holiday lights in the branches for a source of heat. Mulch around the roots to protect from cold weather.

Remove Standing Water from Saucers

Use a blower to remove standing water from saucers on outdoor container plants, or better yet, remove the saucers from under the plants altogether until spring. Plants left standing in water are susceptible to root rot or fungus diseases.

Plant Asparagus

Now is the time to plant asparagus from bare root stock. To plant, dig a trench 1 foot wide and 8 to 10 inches deep. The roots should be spaced 1 foot apart, setting them in the soil so that the tops, or crowns, of the roots are 6 to 8 inches below the soil surface. Spread the roots out on the bottom of the trench and cover the roots with about 2 inches good, rich garden soil. As the plants begin to grow, gradually fill in the trench with soil, never cover the growing tips (green part). You shouldn\'t harvest any spears the first three years to allow the bed to become established.

Shop for Bare Root Plants

January is the best time to shop for bare root roses, fruit trees, berries, artichokes deciduous shrubs. The selection is large and, because the plants are shipped from the grower without soil, the price is right. Look for healthy plants with no visible scars on the bark or signs of fungus disease. Keep bare root stock damp until planting time by heeling it into the soil or storing in a bucket filled with damp sand.

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