Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2006
Regional Report

Rooting New Berry Canes

Tips from last year's boysenberry canes should be well-rooted. Cut off the vine above the third node from the rooted tip and free the new plant.

Spray Dormant Oil and Fungicide

January is a good time for another dormant oil spray on fruit trees, especially if this was not done last month or if it rained within two days of that application. The point is to have the sprayed material on the tree throughout the dormant season, and especially at specific pest growth periods. Choose a day when the temperature stays above 40 degrees and the wind is calm. For peach leaf curl, choose a fungicide such as Bordeaux, Orthorix, or Microcrop. Valentine's Day or Presidents' Day (before bloom buds show color) will be the next and last spray for the year.

Sow and Transplant Veggies

Some seeds will sprout outdoors, given a little time, including chard, kale, leeks, bibb and iceberg lettuces, mustards, green and bulb onions, flat-leaf parsley, peas, radishes, and savoy spinach. Indoors, sow more of these and broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chamomile, caraway, cauliflower, chervil, chives, coriander (cilantro), dill, fennel, lettuce, marjoram, mint, oregano, curly-leafed parsley, sage, spinach, tarragon, and thyme. Or if transplants are ready, plant these in the ground: artichoke and asparagus crowns and rhubarb rhizomes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, green and bulb onions, flat-leaf parsley, radishes, and savoy spinach. Plant cole crops up to the first set of leaves to prevent their maturing into weak, leggy, less-productive plants.

Start Flower Seeds

Outdoors, sow ageratums, alyssum, bachelor's buttons or cornflowers, calendulas, candytuft, celosia, columbines, coreopsis, English daisies (bellis), delphiniums, dianthus, forget-me-nots, four-o-clocks, hollyhocks, larkspur, silver dollar plant (lunaria ), pansies, California and Shirley poppies, salvias, snapdragons, stocks, sweet peas, sweet william, and native wildflowers. Inside, in a warm and brightly lit but not necessarily sunny place, sow asters, balsam, cosmos, African daisies (gazania), dianthus, gaillardias, impatiens, lobelia, marigolds, nicotiana, petunias, phlox, statice, verbena, and vincas. Transplant agapanthus, hardy amaryllis, azaleas, bleeding hearts, camellias, cinerarias, clematis, cyclamen, ornamental cabbage and kale, gaillardias, hollies, primroses, Iceland and Oriental poppies, bare-root roses, violas, violets, and wisteria.

Feed Your Soil

Soil amendments applied to the soil surface now will decay over the winter, and their nutrients will wash into the soil gradually with each rain. When your soil is dry enough, incorporate amendments at least as deep as a spading fork or shovel. Which amendments your soil needs can be determined best by a soil test. At the very least, all soils benefit from nutrient-rich compost and mulch. Healthy plant root growth and overall plant vigor depends on a moist and loose soil.

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