Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2006
Regional Report

Put Vegetable Gardens to Bed

Pull up and compost the remains of the summer vegetable garden. Squash, tomatoes, and peppers are done and leaving them in the ground invites insect and disease infestation for next year' crop. Mulch over the surface of the soil with organic compost or leaves raked up from your yard. They should be perfectly decomposed by next spring when planting time rolls around again.

Clean Under Daphne

By removing debris from under daphne, you reduce the likelihood of the plant developing fungal disease. The trunk part of this plant is very sensitive so it's also a good idea to plant daphne high in the soil.

Pull Perennial Weeds

Pull perennial weeds by the roots while the soil is wet. If you are ever going to get wild fennel out of the ground, the time is now. Use a transplanting shovel blade to pry the root from the ground while you pull straight up from the base of the plant. Smaller weeds such as dandelion and nut grass can be pulled now too. Curly dock, bristly ox tongue, centurea, Scotch broom, and small seedling privet can all be pulled from the earth with very little effort now.

Remove Faded Bulb Flowers

My narcissus are done for the year, already! Clip off the faded flowers and treat the foliage as if it were an honored guest in your garden. Fertilize, water, and keep the leaves going as long as possible to promote strong bulbs for next year. Use a balanced fertilizer for best results.

Withhold Water From Desert Cactus

Winter is the natural resting period for desert cactus plants. If you have them in your collection, stop watering until you begin to see signs of new growth, probably around February when the days are beginning to get longer. The plants may wither slightly, but this is natural. By treating them this way, they will reward you with a flush of blooms come spring.

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