Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2008
Regional Report

Continue Transplanting Veggies

Transplant globe artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, rhubarb, cane berries, grapes, and strawberries. But, do so only when the soil is not waterlogged -- if it crumbles after squeezing a fistful, it's OK; if it squishes or stays in a lump, it's too wet.

Dormant Pruning

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

Droopy Houseplants?

Don't worry that your houseplants don't seem too perky now -- they're going dormant, just like 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 close to windows may get too much cold air at night, so move them or provide a shield between them and the window. The most comfortable temperature range for most indoor plants is 65 to75 degrees, with extremes of 60 and 80 degrees.

Birds Need Holiday Gifts, Too

Provide feeding stations for winter's hungry birds, and keep them well supplied with seeds, suet, and water; they'll reward you in the spring and summer by eating the garden's undesirable insects.

Garden Notes

Make notes on last year's garden while your memory is still fresh. Your initial choices, impressions, and the results of this year's garden will provide a starting point for next year's choices.

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