Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2001
Regional Report

Concentrate Daytime Warmth

To help concentrate daytime warmth and increase germination, cover beds with clear plastic sheeting. Anchor the edges with soil or rocks to keep out slugs and others who love the succulent sprouts, and to keep the sheeting from blowing away.

Treat Soil Gently


Now that the soil is thoroughly cold and moist, take extra care not to compact it during transplanting. Don't work in the garden if the soil is waterlogged. Squeeze a fistful of soil then let go -- if it crumbles it's ok; if it squishes or stays in a lump, it's too wet. After gently gathering the soil back around the transplant's roots, barely water it in -- just enough to settle the plant. Tamping the soil more than that will compact it.

Different Depths for Asparagus


Plant asparagus at different depths to provide a longer harvest. The shallower asparagus will send up its spears early in the season, and the deeper crowns will bear later.

Prune Fruit Trees and Vines


Prune fruit trees and vines now and next month, but only when all of the leaves have fallen. This indicates that the plants are fully dormant, so your pruning won't damage living tissue. Don't clip spring-blooming shrubs, however, or you'll remove this coming year's color -- wait until after bloom. Also wait until outdoor fuchsias leaf out to prune so you can see what frost damage occurred.

Protect the Compost Pile


Cover the compost pile loosely with a tarp or black plastic to hold in heat and keep rain from leaching out the valuable nutrients.

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