Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2001
Regional Report

Reduce Frost Damage


Frost remains likely on dry, windless, clear nights this time of year, but plants are less susceptible to frost damage when they've been sufficiently watered. Don't overdo it, however. Since roots don't circulate moisture quickly in cold weather, too much water may stimulate new growth or drown the plant. Keep frost-protection coverings, especially plastic sheeting, away from the foliage, or the foliage will more readily freeze.

Wait to Prune Damaged Plants


Don't remove any of the dead foliage or branches of plants damaged by frost yet. Plants may look messy, but those damaged portions will protect sensitive growth further inside the plants from later frosts. Wait to start trimming until growth begins in spring. You may find that branches that appeared dead are alive and well, after all.


Start Spring Seeds

Start seeds of spring crops indoors now for transplanting in a few months. Sow broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, caraway, cauliflower, chamomile, chervil, chives, coriander (cilantro), dill, fennel, lettuces, marjoram, mint, oregano, curly-leafed parsley, sage, spinaches, tarragon, and thyme. Toward the end of January, start peppers and tomatoes indoors as a promise of warmer weather to come.

Transplant Berries


Transplant berry canes from now through March. Tips from last year's canes that were propagated should be well rooted by now. Cut off the cane from the rooted tip. Transplant the new canes into a bed amended with organic matter and compost. Space berry canes about 1 foot apart.

Renew Strawberry Patch


Use strawberry runners to renew your patch (or create a new one), replacing strawberry plants that are more than 3 years old and past their prime. Avoid locating strawberries where eggplants, peppers, potatoes, or tomatoes were growing within the last 3 years, as they have similar disease problems. Dig in lots of manure and compost before transplanting strawberries. Transplant the runners so the roots are buried but leaf bases are not.

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