Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2001
Regional Report

Harvest Salads

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

Feed Winter Bloomers

Feed shrubs and trees that will bloom in January and February. If azalea and gardenia foliage is light or yellowish-green, water plants with a solution of chelated iron.

Reduce Watering Frequency


Continue to water outdoor plants unless the rains keep the soil moist. Plant roots are not very efficient at absorbing moisture during cold weather, so be sure they get water -- but aren't waterlogged. Reduce the frequency of irrigation -- but don't stop altogether. Plants that are stressed lack of irrigation are more susceptible to frost damage.

Winter Clean-up


Clean up all garden debris and compost it. Dispose of any diseased plant material, rather than composting it, to minimize the spread of disease. Periodically rough up soil surfaces to bring overwintering pests and their egg cases to the surface, where they'll be killed by the cold.

Let Houseplants Rest

Don\'t worry that your houseplants are slowing down -- they\'re resting, just like the 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 near windows may get too much cold air at night, so move them or provide a shield between them and the window. The best temperature range for most indoor plants is 65-75 degrees, with extremes of 60 and 80 degrees.

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