Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2010
Regional Report

Start Seeds Outdoors and Indoors

Some seeds will sprout outdoors, given a little time. Veggies include chard, kale, leeks, bibb and iceberg lettuces, mustards, green and bulb onions, flat-leaf parsley, peas, radishes, and savoy spinaches. Flowers include ageratums, alyssum, bachelor's button (cornflower), calendulas, candytuft, celosia (cockscomb), columbines, coreopsis, English daisy (bellis), delphiniums, dianthus, forget-me-nots, four-o-clocks, hollyhocks, larkspur, lunaria (honesty, money plant, silver dollar plant), pansies, California and Shirley poppies, salvias, snapdragons, stocks, sweet peas, sweet william, and native wildflowers.

Hold Off Pruning Spring Bloomers

Wait to prune spring-flowering ornamentals until just after they bloom. Pruning now will remove the wood that already has bloom buds set inside, stimulate frost-tender new growth, and possibly remove wood that was not truly dead.

Pruning Disinfectant

An excellent, inexpensive, and easily-used disinfectant for pruning tools is rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Wipe shears with the alcohol after pruning every several cuts to avoid spreading any diseases. Clean the blades extra well before moving to another tree or bush.

Transplant Roses

When transplanting roses, add humus and potash, but be spare with nitrogen fertilizers, as these hasten new foliage which may be damaged by late frosts.

Layer Soil Amendments

Soil amendments like manure and compost applied to the soil surface now will decay over the winter, and their nutrients will wash into the soil gradually with each rain. Which amendments your soil needs can be determined best by a soil test. At the very least, all soils can benefit from nutrient-rich compost and mulch. And, any organic amendments you lay down now will help hold in all that glorious rain we've received!

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