Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2009
Regional Report

Harvest Potatoes

Harvest potatoes now, being careful not to cut or bruise them, or leave them in the soil for harvest through the winter. Take care to not expose them to sunlight or soil cracks, however, or they'll develop inedible, bitter green areas. (After off cutting these areas and discarding them, the remaining potato can be eaten.) After harvest, hold the potatoes at 75 to 85 degrees for a week, and then store them at 50 to 60 degrees with high humidity. They should keep for six to fifteen weeks. Refrigerating them at 36 to 40 degrees will turn some of the starch into sugar, making them taste oddly sweet and look dark.

Beautiful Broccoflower

Just about any broccoli variety will do well in our area. Try "sprouting" kinds for lots of small heads that ultimately produce greater yields. For brilliant chartreuse, pointed heads that taste milder than regular broccoli, try "Romanesco," a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.

Herb Wreaths or Vinegar Gifts

Harvest herbs for making wreaths or vinegars as holiday presents. Herb wreaths are easy to make and can include whatever herbs are most used by your recipient. Good choices include basil, oregano, marjoram, anise, parsley, thyme, sage, dill, and tarragon.

Water Cold-Hardy Grapes and Deciduous Trees

Give one last deep watering to grapevines and deciduous trees to make them more cold-hardy. Feed all overwintering plants with a no-nitrogen, high-phosphorus, high-potassium fertilizer to help them become cold-hardy.

Compost Care

Continue replenishing your compost pile by adding non-greasy kitchen and grass clippings, plant foliage, and dry matter in layers with soil. Chop up bulky items to help them break down faster. Keep the pile moist but not waterlogged, and loosen or turn it every other week or so to let in air. When rains begin, cover the pile loosely to prevent its getting too waterlogged and leaching out its rich nitrogen. To keep a compost pile "working hot," build it between three and five feet high and wide for the most favorable surface-to-volume ratio. Keep in balance all the necessary ingredients--fresh, moist greenery, dried leaves and small twigs or wood chips, and some soil or compost or manure.

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