Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Plant Veggies for Winter Eating
Continue sowing and transplanting veggies to grow and harvest throughout the winter. This includes fava beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, cilantro, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustards, green and bulb onions, parsley, peas, radishes, shallots and spinach. While these plants won't grow much till early spring, they'll have well-established root systems ready for a great growth spurt with the first warmth.
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.
Discontinue Fertilizing Grapes and Trees
Give one last deep watering to grapevines and deciduous trees but discontinue feeding. This will begin hardening them off for cold weather. You want to discourage new growth that will be tender and susceptible to frost damage.
Prune to Reduce Wind Damage
Prune trees with dense, leafy crowns so you can see through the tree. This will also allow wind to escape through the tree and not blow it down. Loosely tie young staked trees with flexible ties, so the tree can sway in the breeze (this helps strengthen the trunk and roots).
Apply Slow-Release Nitrogen to Lawns
Fertilize lawns with slow-release nitrogen for gradual, consistent feeding all winter long. Continue to mow the lawn as long as it's growing 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.