Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2004
Regional Report

Transplant Perennial Veggies

Transplant globe artichokes, jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, and rhubarb. Also transplant cane berries, grapes, and strawberries. But do so only when the soil is not waterlogged; if it crumbles after squeezing a fistful, it's ok; if it squishes or stays in a lump, it's too wet. Planting asparagus at different depths will provide a longer harvest; the shallow asparagus will send up its spears early in the season, and the deeper crowns will bear later.

Add Posies

Transplant astilbes, azaleas, bleeding hearts, calendulas, camellias, canterbury bells (campanula), 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.

Avoid Compacting Soil When Transplanting

When transplanting, be careful not to compact the soil, now that it\'s thoroughly cold and moist. After gently gathering the soil back around the transplant\'s roots, water it in just enough to settle the plant. Tamping the soil more than lightly will damage the soil tilth by compression.

Prune Fruit Trees and Vines

Prune fruit trees and vines later this month, but only when all of the leaves have fallen. This indicates that the plants are fully dormant, and pruning will not damage living tissue. Don't clip spring-blooming shrubs, however, or you'll remove this coming year's color. Wait until blooming is over. Also wait to prune outdoor fuchsias until they leaf out and you can see just what frost damage occurred.

Continue to Maintain Soil Moisture

Continue to water your overwintering outdoor plants unless the rains keep the soil moist at least a foot deep. Irrigation should be reduced, not stopped, as plant photosynthesis slows down and cold weather dries plants out. Plants that are stressed from lack of irrigation are more susceptible to frost damage. Plant and tree roots are not very efficient in drawing up moisture during cold weather, so be sure they get water but aren\'t waterlogged.


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