Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2005
Regional Report

Harvest One Leaf at at Time

Harvest leaf crops such as lettuce and spinach by removing only the outer leaves. Let the three or four center leaves develop further. This allow the plant to continue growing -- and you continue harvesting -- 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.

Hold the Pruners

Don't clip spring-blooming shrubs or you'll remove this coming year's color. Wait until they've finished blooming. Also wait to prune outdoor fuchsias until they leaf out and you can see just what frost damage occurred.

Get Frost Covers Ready

Provide temporary light shade or plastic sheeting to protect the southwest side of plants from chilling winds. Be sure the covering doesn't touch the foliage, as this may increase frost damage.

Refurbish Tools

Thoroughly clean, sharpen, and oil tools, and apply linseed oil to wood handles. Store tools in a protected area, as severe weather and moisture contribute to their premature aging.

Evaluate the Gardening Year

Make notes on last year's garden while your memory is still fresh. Your initial choices, impressions, and the results of this year's garden will provide a starting point for next year's choices.

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