Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2011
Regional Report

Harvest Outer Leaves Only

Harvest leaf crops such as lettuce and spinach by removing only the outer leaves. Let the three or four center leaves develop further. Thus the plant continues growing--and you continue harvesting--throughout the season until spring warmth causes the plant to go to seed. By then, you'll soon be harvesting spring-sown or transplanted greens to supply your salads.

Make Your Next Dormant Spray

If you missed Thanksgiving's scheduled dormant spray application, spray as soon as possible now. It's always better to apply it late rather than wait for the next scheduled time, for long-lasting coverage. The second scheduled spray, at the "height" or "depth" of the dormant season, can be made anytime from now through mid-January, whenever you can expect several days of dry weather above 40 degrees F. On apricots, use lime sulfur instead of copper.

Plant More Spring-Blooming Bulbs

Plant more spring-blooming bulbs early this month, and save some to plant from mid-February through mid-March for extended bloom through late spring.

Continue Winter Irrigation

Continue to water your overwintering outdoor plants unless the rains keep the soil moist. Irrigation should be reduced, not stopped, as plant photosynthesis slows down and cold weather dries plants out. Plants that are stressed lack of irrigation are more susceptible to frost damage.

Set Up Bird Feeding Stations

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.

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