Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2007
Regional Report

Transplant Strawberries

Strawberries transplanted now will have time to develop sturdy root systems over the winter and be 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.

Leave Asparagus Ferns Untrimmed

Wait to cut asparagus ferns until they've turned completely brown, generally after the first hard frost. By then they've reabsorbed all their energy back into the crowns for next year's edible shoots. Cutting them sooner means throwing away this recycled nutrition. Trim the fronds at soil level rather than yanking them from the crown to avoid injuring the crowns.

Harvest Cole Crops After Frost

Cole crops (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi) and Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) will taste sweeter when harvested after the first hard frost, when the chill turns some of the vegetable starch into sugar.

Stabilize Young Trees

Anchor stakes and ties to young trees and shrubs to stabilize them against winter winds, but not so tightly that the tree can't sway in the breeze. This movement helps the roots grow into strong anchors for the tree.

Stop Watering and Fertilizing Roses

Discontinue watering and feeding roses, and mulch the plants with manure and compost. Prune them lightly to remove the long, bloomed-out canes, but save hard pruning until January, when plants are fully dormant. Severe pruning now will encourage new growth that will freeze with the cold, wasting all that plant energy.

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