Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2006
Regional Report

Sow or Transplant Veggies

Sow chard, kale, leeks, bibb and buttercrunch and romaine lettuces, mustards, green and bulb onions, flat-leaf parsley, peas, radishes, and savoy spinach. Sprinkle just enough water to settle them in.

Plant for Winter Color

Sow African daisies (gazania), ageratum, alyssum, baby-blue-eyes, baby's breath, bachelor's buttons, calendulas, candytuft, delphiniums, forget-me-nots, hollyhocks, impatiens, larkspur, lobelia, lunaria, lupines, nasturtiums, pansies, sweet peas, California and Iceland and Shirley poppies, verbena, and wildflowers. While they may not germinate immediately, they will after a stretch of warm weather, so keep seed flats moist.

Transplant Carefully

Transplant globe artichokes, jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, horseradish, and rhubarb; also cane berries, grapes, and strawberries. But do so only when the soil is not waterlogged; if it crumbles after squeezing a fistful, it's ok; if it squishes or stays in a lump, it's too wet.

Treat Houseplants Differently in Winter

Don't worry that your houseplants don't seem too perky now; many are going dormant, just like plants outdoors. Plants need this rest, so stop feeding them, and water them less frequently. Also, be sure they're not getting blasted with hot air from a heater vent or fireplace. Plants close to windows may get too much cold air at night, so move them or provide a shield between them and the window. The most comfortable temperature range for indoor plants is 65 to 75 degrees F, with extremes of 60 and 80 degrees.

Keep on Dormant Spray Schedule

If you missed Thanksgiving's scheduled dormant spray application, spray as soon as possible now. It's always better to apply it late rather than wait for the next scheduled time, for long-lasting coverage. The second scheduled spray, at the "height" or "depth" of the dormant season, can be made anytime from now through mid-January, whenever you can expect several days of dry weather above 40 degrees in temperature. On apricots, use lime sulfur instead of copper.

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