Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2011
Regional Report

Plastic Helps Germination

To help concentrate daytime warmth and increase germination, cover the garden bed with clear plastic sheeting. Anchor the edges with soil or rocks to keep out slugs and other pests that love the succulent sprouts and to keep the sheeting from blowing away.

Feed Late-Winter Bloomers

Feed shrubs and trees that will bloom in January and February. If azalea and gardenia foliage is light or yellowish-green, water plants with a solution of chelated iron.

Give Houseplants a Rest

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 65-75 degrees, with extremes of 60 and 80 degrees.

Tarp That Compost!

Cover the compost pile loosely with a tarp or black plastic to hold in heat and keep rain from leaching out the valuable nutrients.

Make 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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