Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2000
Regional Report

Plant Garlic

Garlic planted now will develop a strong root system over the winter. Leaf production will begin early in spring, resulting in a large head next summer. The sooner you plant the cloves in rich, well-drained soil, the larger the bulbs will be at harvest. Planting in spring will produce only medium- or small-sized cloves, or a single bulb without cloves. Don't give up on the small bulbs, though. They can be used in place of a single large clove in recipes.

Lightly Prune Roses

Prune roses lightly to shorten long, bloomed-out canes, but save hard pruning until January, when plants are fully dormant. Severe pruning now will encourage new growth, which will freeze with the first frosts, wasting all that plant energy. Feed roses with a high-phosphorus and high-potassium fertilizer to help them harden off. Mulch roses with manure and compost.

Anchor Trees

Anchor stakes and ties to young trees and shrubs to stabilize them against winter winds - but not so tightly that the tree can't sway a few inches each way in the breeze. This swaying movement helps the roots grow into strong anchors that firmly establish the tree. Starting at the base of the tree, tie the tree above a major branch coming off the trunk.

Winter Compost Care

Continue replenishing your compost pile by adding nongreasy kitchen scraps and grass clippings, plant foliage, and dry matter in thin layers with soil. Chop up bulky items to help them break down faster. Keep the pile moist but not waterlogged and loosen or turn it every other week or so to aerate it. When rains begin, cover the pile loosely to prevent its getting too waterlogged and leaching out its rich nitrogen.

Reduce Winter Watering

Help overwintering plants harden off by changing your irrigation schedule. Cooler weather slows evaporation from the soil and transpiration from plant foliage, so irrigation is needed less often. Decrease the number of times, but not the length of time, you water. For example, water once every 2 weeks instead of once a week, but continue to water for half an hour each time. This change will still provide water to deep roots while allowing the soil to dry between waterings.


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