Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2012
Regional Report

Grow Bigger Onions

You'll get larger onion bulbs that won't bolt in early spring if you sow seed or transplant seedlings now. Store-bought sets -- little baby bulblets about half an inch wide -- are often left on display indoors where temperatures are too warm for too long, and they frequently bolt during the first spring warmth. If you do purchase onion sets, plant the ones that are smaller than a dime for next year's bulbs, and plant the larger ones to use for cutting green onions through the winter, since these will bolt and set seed instead of bulbing in spring.

Transplant Strawberries

Transplant strawberries now so they'll develop sturdy root systems over the winter, ready to burst into lush foliage and heavy fruit set in the spring. Dig in lots of manure and compost first, to feed roots over the winter and through the summer.

Dig in Manure and Compost

Before the soil absorbs too much rain, dig in manure and compost. These will break down over the winter, and nutrients will be available for immediate use when seeds are sown and transplants begin to grow vigorously in the spring. Another approach is to lay manure down now but wait until spring to dig it into the soil; until then, the rains will percolate through the manure and provide "manure tea" to enrich the soil underneath.

Water for Frost Protection

The best frost protection for plants is to have sufficient water in the soil. Irrigate fall-planted trees and bushes deeply once or twice this month to settle them in well and ensure good root formation prior to dormancy. But, be careful to not waterlog soil that doesn't drain well. This goes for container plants, as well.

Change Indoor Plant Locations

Rearrange indoor plants if necessary for winter conditions. Keep them away from cold drafts by windows and away from drying heat of fireplaces or vents. Move them closer to windows to get what winter sunlight they can. Many houseplants also go dormant at this time of year, so they need less water and fertilizer.

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