• January Rain Will Make Gardens Grow in Southern California
    Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at

  • Experts are predicting a slightly above average amount of rainfall in Southern California in January, which means less watering and more growing for winter gardens.
    Plant bare root fruit trees: Bare root fruit and nut trees are in abundance at local nurseries in winter. Now is the time to plant these trees while they are in a dormant phase. Plant apricot, plum, apple, pear and peach trees, and all types of rose bushes. As a rule of thumb, you should dig a hole to plant your tree that is twice as wide but no deeper than the root ball. Add organic compost planting mix to the soil that came out of the hole (follow directions on the label for amount of each) to increase soil aeration and to keep in moisture. Make sure the top two inches of soil remains moist.

    It's Pruning Season: Now is the time to prune your trees and shrubs—while growth has slowed or even stopped. Some new buds sprout in winter so be careful not to trim those. Rose bushes should get a significant trimming—as much as eight inches. Pruning in winter stimulates healthy growth in spring.

    Divide and Replant Perennials: Perennial plants are looking a little raggedy in winter. It is good motivation to remove portions of these plants and replant them. The existing plants will grow stronger and fuller while the newly planted portions will quickly take root. Plants that can be divided include   chrysanthemums, Shasta, African and English daisies, delphiniums, dianthus, statice and violets.

    Protect Plants From Frost: Many parts of Southern California can experience below freezing temperatures in January. Freezing temperatures are most common on dry, windless and cloud-free nights. To help prevent frost damage, keep the soil around plants moist. Container plants should be moved near walls to absorb radiant heat left over from a sunny day. If frost damage does occur, do not remove dead leaves. These leaves will protect the tree from further damage. Wait until new growth begins before removing any dead vegetation.

    Add Soil Amendments: Apply a layer of soil amendment on the surface of your garden. Rain and the natural decaying process will gradually introduce the amendments into the soil, creating a nutrient-rich environment that will help when planting in spring.

    Care For Poinsettias: Most people think that once the holidays are over, poinsettias are over as well. With watering, poinsettias will remain healthy into March. Once the leaves begin to droop, cut back the stems so they are no more than eight inches in length. By June, new growth will begin. Keep the plant indoors in indirect, natural sunlight and the soil moderately moist. When the weather warms, bring the plant outside. Prune as needed so the plant is bushy. Flowers will begin to grow in October and reach their peak in November and December.

    For more gardening tips, go to www.agromin.com.

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  • Winter Gardening in Southern California
    Monday, December 1, 2014 at

  • While December brings below freezing temperatures to many parts of the country, it is an opportunity for southern California gardeners to finish up on fall planting and undertake garden maintenance projects.

    Plant Artichokes: Buying artichokes at the market can be expensive so planting these perennials can be a smart decision. Planted now, they can begin producing in summer. Don't be surprised, however, if the first crop is disappointing or non-existent. It may take two growing cycles for the plants to mature to the point of growing sizable artichokes.

    Get Creative With Your Garden: Think outside the box and plant vegetables that don’t get the most attention. These include such cool weather vegetables as asparagus, beets, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and celery.

    Ignore Roses: Trim off flowers and then let your roses "harden" for winter. No need to fertilize.

    Buy (Or Rent) A Living Christmas Tree:  Many families make it a tradition to purchase living Christmas trees and then plant them in their yard once the holidays are over. When purchasing a living tree to later plant, research the type of tree that would best fit your yard. Pine trees are messy, have large root systems and can grow to 40 feet or higher. They also need a significant amount of water. Pine trees that do well in the region are Afghan pine, Aleppo pine, Coast redwood and Deodar cedar. Do not keep a live tree indoors more than two weeks or it will begin to drop its needles. For another environmentally healthy alternative to purchasing a cut Christmas tree, in some parts of southern California, live Christmas trees are available for rent from The Living Christmas Company.

    Move Container Plants:  Place container plants next to south or west-facing walls so they will absorb reflected daytime heat and stay shielded from wind. Move cacti, succulents and potted trees under cover for protection from cold and rain.

    Attend To Fruit Trees: Spray horticulture oils or lime-sulfur onto deciduous fruit trees. This will control diseases such as leaf curl caused by insects. Leaf curl can reduce the amount of fruit that is produced so spraying now will help summer production. You can also prune deciduous fruit trees this month.

    Keep Lawns Healthy In Winter: Fill in bare spots with seeds, followed by soil amendment and plenty of water. Rake leaves from lawns. Mow as needed.  

                For more gardening tips, go to www.agromin.com.

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