Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2006
Regional Report

Harvest Outer Leaves

Harvest leaf crops such as lettuce and spinach by removing only the outer leaves. Let the three or four center leaves develop further. Thus, the plant continues growing -- and you continue harvesting -- throughout the season until spring warmth causes the plant to bolt and go to seed. By then, you'll soon be harvesting spring-sown or transplanted greens to supply your salads.

Plant Asparagus at Different Depths

Planting asparagus at different depths will provide a longer harvest; the shallow asparagus will send up its spears early in the season, and the deeper crowns will bear later.

Prune When All the Leaves Are Gone

Prune fruit trees and vines when all of the leaves have fallen. This indicates that the plants are fully dormant, and pruning will not damage living tissue. Don't clip spring-blooming shrubs, however, or you'll remove this coming year's color; instead, wait till blooming is finished. Also wait to prune outdoor fuchsias until they leaf out and you can see just what frost damage occurred.

Plant More Bulbs

Plant more spring-blooming bulbs early this month, and save some to plant from mid-February through mid-March for extended bloom through late spring.

No Stomping After Transplanting!

When transplanting, be careful not to compact the soil now that it's thoroughly cold and moist. After gently gathering the soil back around the transplant's roots, water just enough to settle the plant. Tamping the soil more than lightly will damage the soil tilth by compression.

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