Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
December, 2001
Regional Report

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Lettuce's great variety of colors and textures make an attractive -- and delicious -- dependable in the winter garden.

The Garden's Link Between Old and New Year

The sun's light and warmth have slipped to the year's low ebb. During warm spells, however, some seeds will germinate, so sowing under protected conditions is worth the effort. These seedlings can fill gaps in the winter garden and continue harvests into early spring. But plants will grow very slowly, so sow or transplant three or four times the amount you would in the spring.

Garden Greens

Fresh-picked chard, lettuce, spinach, and other greens are delicious, nutritious, and far less less expensive than what's available at the supermarket. They're worth starting now if only for their flavor and texture added to store-bought basics. Besides, it's wonderful to have something bright green growing in the garden all winter -- besides weeds.

Sow chard; kale; leeks; bibb, buttercrunch and romaine lettuces; mustards; green and bulb onions; flat-leaf parsley; peas; radishes; and savoy-leafed spinaches. Sprinkle lightly with water -- just enough to settle them in.

Time to Transplant

Transplant globe artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, horseradish, and rhubarb; also cane berries, grapes, and strawberries. Sow African daisy (gazania), ageratum, alyssum, baby-blue-eyes, baby's breath (gypsophila), bachelor's buttons (cornflower), calendulas, candytuft, delphinium, forget-me-nots, hollyhocks, impatiens, larkspur, lobelia, lunaria (honesty, money plant, silver dollar plant), lupines, nasturtiums, pansies, sweet peas, California and Iceland and Shirley poppies, verbena, and wildflowers. While they may not germinate immediately, they will after a stretch of warm weather, so keep seed flats moist.

Plant 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.

Transplant astilbes, azaleas, bleeding hearts, calendulas, camellias, canterbury bells (campanula, bellflower), cinerarias, columbines (aquilegia), cyclamen, delphiniums, dianthus, forget-me-nots, foxgloves, gaillardias, hollyhocks, lilies-of-the-valley, ornamental cabbage and kale, pansies, peonies, Iceland and Oriental poppies, primroses, snapdragons, stocks, sweet williams, violas, and violets.

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