Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Seed Onions Now for Larger Bulbs
You'll get larger onion bulbs that won't bolt in early spring if you sow seed or transplant seedlings now. Store-bought sets (little baby bulblets about half an inch wide) are often left on display indoors where temperatures are too warm for too long, and they frequently bolt during the first spring warmth. If you do purchase onion sets, plant the ones that are smaller than a dime for next year's bulbs, and plant the larger ones to use for green onions through the winter, since these will bolt and set seed instead of bulbing in spring.
Transplant strawberries now so they\'ll develop sturdy root systems over the winter, ready to burst into lush foliage and heavy fruit set in the spring. Dig in lots of manure and compost first, to feed roots over the winter and through the summer.
Lawns: Slow-Release Nitrogen Only
Fertilize lawns with slow-release nitrogen for gradual, consistent feeding all winter long. Continue to mow the lawn as long as it still grows to encourage branching of individual grass plants for a thicker, healthier lawn that chokes out weeds. Rake leaves off the lawn to allow air, light, and fertilizer to reach the soil surface. Coat the underside of your lawn mower with used oil to inhibit rust and help keep grass clippings from sticking, thus enabling easier cleanup.
Move Mulch Back to Tree Dripline
Rake mulch from under trees back to the drip line. The bare soil can then more easily absorb the day\'s heat and release it to the trees at night. This technique also discourages overwintering of disease-carrying bacteria and insects.
Cacti and Containers
For the last time, water cacti and succulents that will go dormant during the winter. If they are in containers, place them under house eaves or other cover so they'll still receive bright light but winter rains won't drown or rot them. Normal humidity will be sufficient moisture for the winter. Move container plants next to but not touching a south- or west-facing wall so plants absorb reflected daytime heat but are shielded from winds.