• Southern California Gardeners Can Take Time Off During December
    Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at
  • Plants and gardeners can normally take the month of December off as cool weather brings growing to a near stop. Most plants and trees will survive the month nicely on their own. For die-hard gardeners, however, some work can still be done.

    Getting a Jump on Weeds: After a bone-dry summer, even a slight rain can cause weeds to spring to life. Remove them now by hand. The ground is soft after a rain so the work is easy. Once removed, cover the ground with about two inches of wood mulch. Mulch suppresses weed growth. Make sure the layer of mulch is thick enough so weeds cannot find an opportunity to find sunlight and grow. Eliminating weeds now will make it easier to keep weeds in check in spring and summer.

    Moist Soil and Ground Cover For Frost Protection: If you hear of a frost warning in your area, water your garden thoroughly before evening. The moisture from the soil will evaporate and warm the air around your plants and prevent the soil, roots and plants from freezing. Mulch also keeps soil and roots warmer than the air temperature and protects from frost damage.

    Plant Wildflowers: Toss handfuls of wildflower seeds throughout your flower garden--especially if you want a more natural garden look. California poppies, mariposa lilies, gypsophila and larkspur are just some of the many wildflower seeds found at local nurseries. Most nurseries will sell wildflower seed mixes that include many varieties. Once they take root, plants can provide flowers through early summer.

    Consider Native Plants: Native California plants grow in winter. Consult with your nursery for the best plants for your area. Native plants usually require little water after the first year and little, if any fertilizer. If you already have native plants in your garden, now is the time to prune them.

    Clean Up Debris: Collect fallen leaves and branches and compost them for mulch. Cover the compost pile with plastic or tarp to hold in heat and keep out rain. Fallen leaves can act as mulch when spread around flowerbeds. The leaves will keep mud from splashing on small plants during rain.

    Take care of potted plants: No need to bring potted plants indoors on particularly cold nights. Place them near your home, under patio covers or under trees for protection.

    For more gardening tips, go to http://www.agromin.com.

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