Sunday, December 1, 2013

Monthly Garden To-Do List: December/January

We have a short frost season here and it is upon us.  Now is the time to keep an ear out for when it is due to frost and protect your citrus and avocado trees, especially the smaller ones.  You can also turn off your irrigation, and plant those new bare root trees.

What's Ready?
  • apples
  • arugula
  • beets
  • bok choy
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • celery
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • mandarin oranges/ citrus fruits
  • onions
  • spinach
  • sweet potatoes
  • turnips

Kitchen Tasks

  • Make more applesauce, apple butter, and apple crumbles.
  • Use that slow cooker for some hearty soups. Try some new veggies that are ready now, like turnips.
  • Don't forget those cabbages.  They make great soup, meat wrappers, and sauerkraut.  They are high in Vitamin C and fiber, and store well.

That's a lot of sauerkraut fermenting!

Garden Tasks
  • Split your strawberries.  Look at the plants and by now the babies that have shot off should have their own roots growing.  You can let them stay and root where they are, or clip them when their roots are about an inch long and plant them elsewhere.
  • Plant bare root trees!  Plants do better when they are transplanted when they are dormant.
  • Turn off your irrigation - the rains are here!  Turn it back on when a week or 10 days have passed since the last rain.  You are probably safe to have it off from mid-November through March or longer.
  • Keep an ear out for when it is due to frost and cover your citrus and avocado trees.  Bouganvellia also needs to be covered, as do smaller birds of paradise and other various plants (you should find out which of your plants are not frost-tolerant).  There is special frost cloth that allows sun in and raises the temperature a few degrees inside so the plants are less likely to die on those really cold nights.
  • Don't forget to take the basil inside if you want it to be a perennial; if not, it will die after the first frost.  

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
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