UCCE Master Gardeners of San Bernardino County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of San Bernardino County

Gardening Tips

January

Maintenance

  • Keep an eye on the weather report - protect frost-tender plants when the temperature falls below 32 degrees.
  • Divide perennials like daylilies and chrysanthemums.  Prune crepe myrtles, cane berries, and roses, and clean-up trimmings.
  • Prune plum, pluot, apple, and pear trees 15-20%; cherries 10%; and peaches 50%.
  • Mulch, water, and cover tender plants to protect from frost. Be sure to remove coverings during the day.
  • Since flowers are scarce in most gardens now, it’s important to keep your feeder filled; clean and refill it every few days.

Fertilize

  • Fertilize roses when new growth appears.
  • Feed annuals with a complete fertilizer once a month or fish emulsion every two weeks.

Spray

  • To smother overwintering insect eggs and pest such as aphids and mites, and scale, spray deciduous flowering and fruit trees as well as roses with dormant oil after the leaves have fallen. Make sure the weather will provide 24 hrs. for the spray to dry.
  • Apply neem oil or potassium bicarbonate to roses to control black spot, mildew and rust.

 

What to Plant in January

Trees, shrubs, perennials

  • Bare-root deciduous shrubs and trees are available now.
  • Plant your living Christmas tree.

Flowers

  • Plant your bare-root roses.
  • Continue to plant tulips, narcissus, daffodil, and hyacinths for a longer show of blooms in the spring.

Vegetables

  • Late this month nurseries begin selling bare-root artichokes, asparagus, berries, grapes, kiwifruit, horseradish, and rhubarb. Buy and plant early in the month while roots are still fresh. If the soil is too wet to plant, temporarily cover the roots with moistened mulch to keep them from drying out.
  • Plant seeds for cabbage, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, and spring lettuce in a cold frame or in the greenhouse.

Lawns

  • If rains haven’t come, irrigate lawn once or twice this month.

Cover Crops

  • Cover crops like Fava beans can be planted if not planted earlier.

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February

Maintenance

  • Above 2000 ft.: prune deciduous fruit trees, cane berries
  • Below 200 ft.: prune grapes, roses, crepe myrtle. Paint trunks of bareroot and young fruit trees to prevent borers and protect from sunburn. Use interior white latex paint with equal amounts of water and apply generously.
  • Control earwigs and sow bugs with bait or traps.
  • Remove and discard old flowers from azaleas and camellias to reduce petal blight.
  • Divide asters, lilies, perennial phlox, chrysanthemums.
Fertilize
  • Daphne after bloom.
  • Asparagus and strawberries.
  • Cane berries: split yearly recommended amount into three applications, just before new growth, mid-spring and mid-summer.
  • Feed mature bloomers and fall-planted perennials with a slow-release fertilizer.
Spray
  • Apply pre-emergent for invasive Yellow Starthistle
  • All fruit and nut trees: Diazinon and Volk Oil if not done in January and before bud swell.
  • Apricot trees with a fungicide containing copper to prevent brown rot. Spray at bud swell, full bloom, and petal fall.
  • Check the garden for fungus. Spray with sulfur or copper if needed.

 

What to Plant in February

Trees, shrubs, perennials

  • Bare-root deciduous shrubs and trees are available now.
  • Roses, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, asparagus, chives, onion sets, green onion plants.
  • Below 2000 ft.: shallots, lettuce, parsley, cabbage family.
Flowers
  • Lobelia, verbena, vinca rosea, catharanthus. Start begonia tubers.
Vegetables
  • Lettuce
  • Below 2000 ft. : peppers, tomatoes
  • Above 2000 ft. : early varieties of cabbage family.
Lawns
  • If rains haven’t come, irrigate lawn once or twice this month.
Cover Crops
  • Cover crops like Fava beans can be planted if not planted earlier.

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March

Maintenance

  • Prune grapes and roses.
  • Cleanup: remove mummy fruit and blighted limbs on stone fruit to reduce brown rot. Remove and destroy fallen leaves to reduce peach leaf curl.
  • Mulch cane berries, cut out all old canes and reset new canes in twine.
  • Cultivate and pull weeds now!
  • If weather permits, prepare beds for planting by spading in compost an soil amendments.
  • Check irrigation system and perform maintenance as needed.
  • Divide and replant herbs.
Fertilize
  • Cane berries, strawberries and strawberries.
  • Deciduous fruit and young shade trees at first sign f leaves, young conifers, cool season grass and roses.
  • Kiwis (give 2/3 of recommended annual PNK, 1/3 in May).
  • Citrus are heavy nitrogen feeders. Mature trees need 1 ½ lbs. N per year. Divide this amount by 4 and apply each quarter one month apart for 4 months, beginning in March.
  • Daphne and camellia with NPK bloom.
  • All shrubs except newly planted. Wait until after bloom for azaleas and rhododendrons.
Spray
  • All fruit, nuts, roses with 50% wettable copper powder.
  • Stone fruits: fixed copper when buds are swollen and starting to show first color to control brown rot, peach leaf curl, pseudomonas, blossom and canker infections. Also use Roural or Benlate if wet conditions prevail and if mummies have been a problem.
  • Apples: for apple scab use Capton, Benlate, Rubigan or Rally when apple buds first show signs of green and repeat spray every 10 days until bloom where scab is a problem. In many cases this treatment may be combined with February insect controls. (note: Rubigan and Rally are expensive).
  • Check roses for black spot, mildew and rust and spray if needed.
  • Watch for early signs of powdery mildew on grapes, roses and ornamentals. Treat at 2-4” of growth if needed. Apply sulfer or potassium bicarbonate when temperature is below 90 degrees.
  • Check roses for aphids; control with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

 

What to Plant in March

Trees, shrubs, perennials
  • Container roses, shrubs and trees.
  • Grapes, cane berries, rhubarb.
Flowers
  • Below 2000 ft: Canterbury Bells, Forget-Me-Nots, Foxglove, Pansies, Primula and other available perennials.
  • Above 2000 ft: you can still plant flowering Sweet Pea seeds – now!
Vegetables
  • From seed : radish, lettuce, chard, snap beans.
  • Greenhouse or Cold Frame: Hardy annuals from seed such as delphinium, nemesia, matthiola (stock). Below 2000 ft: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, all melons and squash family. Above 2000 ft: lettuce, cabbage family.
Lawns
  • Seed and renovate lawns

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April

Maintenance

  • Pinch chrysanthemums back to 6 inches every month through July.
  • Trim dead flowers but not leaves, from spring bulbs.
  • Mulch cane berries, cut out all old canes and reset new canes in twine.
  • Cultivate and pull weed seedling now to prevent bloom.
  • Check irrigation system and perform maintenance as needed.
  • Check hoses as needed for fire protection.
  • Prune apples, pears, any shoot tips with powdery mildew or fireblight; azaleas, rhododendrons, flowering fruit trees after bloom if needed, spring flowering shrubs, frost-damaged growth.
  • Mow or cultivate grass around orchards to discourage thrips and plant bugs. Best time for cleft graphing.
  • Control slugs, snails and earwigs with traps or barriers.
  • Thoroughly clean debris from ponds, fountains and bird baths.
Fertilize
  • Deciduous fruit trees and young shade trees at first leaves if not done in March.
  • Azaleas, rhododendrons after flowering.
  • Apply chelated iron to azaleas, gardenias and camellias if leaves are yellowing between the veins.
  • Cool season turf grass.
  • Cane berries, strawberries and strawberries
  • Citrus are heavy nitrogen feeders. Mature trees need 1 ½ lbs. N per year. Divide this amount by 4 and apply each quarter one month apart for 4 months, beginning in March.
  • Fertilize shrubs and trees once during spring with slow-release fertilizer.
  • Fertilize bulbs after bloom.

Spray
  • Pears, except Comice – weak copper spray when in bloom, one to three applications for fireblight.
  • Stone fruit (below 2000 ft) – Benlate, Capton, Rubigan or Rally if rainy. Wet weathers favors brown rot.
  • Stone fruit (above 2000ft.) - fixed copper when buds are swollen and starting to show first color to control brown rot, peach leaf curl, pseudomonas, blossom and canker infections.
  • Grapes – treat with sulfur or other fungicide when shoots are 2” to 6” long. Continue every 7-10 days until fruit start to color.
  • Apples (above 2000 ft) - for apple scab use Capton, Benlate, Rubigan or Rally when apple buds first show signs of green and repeat spray every 10 days until bloom where scab is a problem. In many cases this treatment may be combined with February insect controls. (note: Rubigan and Rally are expensive).
  • Check roses for black spot, mildew and rust and spray if needed
  • Check roses for aphids; control with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

 

What to Plant in April

Plant Seed
  • Beets carrots, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, radish, turnips
  • Below 2000 ft: corn, lima beans, melons, potatoes, pumpkins, snap beans, summer squash, winter squash (marginal – only if weather has warmed). Marigold, zinnia, sunflower (if weather is warm), alyssum.
Plant Seed - Greenhouse or Cold Frame 
  • Above 2000 ft: melons, peppers, pumpkins, summer squash, tomatoes. Marigold, zinnia
Set out Plants
  • Gladiolus
  • Below 2000 ft.: parsley, peppers, strawberries, melons, squash tomatoes, citrus, dahlias.
  • Above 2000 ft.: cabbage family, parsley, strawberries.
Flowers
  • Last chance to plant pansies, violas and primroses.
  • Make a last planting of summer bulbs.
  • Set out perennials.
  • Many annuals may be seeds at elevations up to 1500 ft.
Vegetables
  • Transplant tomatoes, eggplant and peppers as temperatures warm.
  • At cooler elevations, transplant lettuce cabbage family, collards and kale.
  • After danger of frost, plant cilantro and two week intervals for a steady supply.
Lawns
  • Seed and renovate lawns
Trees and Shrubs
  • Last chance for planting citrus trees.
  • Weather permitting, frost-tender plants can go outside now.

 

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May

Maintenance

  • Set out traps for earwigs, slugs, and whiteflies.
  • Thin pit fruits at or before pit hardening.
  • Thin apples when ½” diameter.
  • Mow grass or cultivate soil around orchard to discourage thrips and plant bugs.
  • Mulch around plants to control weeds and conserve moisture. Be sure to leave a small circle of bare soil around the base of each plant.
  • Deep water trees and shrubs. Build water basins, but do not allow water to stand against the trunks.
  • Prepare dahlia bed with rich soil.
  • For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers.
  • Hang strips of foil or CD’s in fruit trees to help deter birds.
  • As spring=flowering shrubs finish blooming, prune to shape, removing old and dead wood.
  • Trim hedges; lightly trim azaleas, fuchsias, bushier plants.
  • Thoroughly clean debris from ponds, fountains and bird baths.

Fertilize

  • Strawberries (end of May).
  • Young fruit trees, if missed in April.
  • Cane berries after harvest.
  • Rhododendron after bloom.
  • Cool season turf grass.
  • Roses at bloom start.
  • Citrus
  • If you did not use slow release fertilizer for summer bloomers. Give them a feeding now.
  • Fertilize vegetables monthly.
  • Feed indoor plants with slow release fertilizer.

Spray

  • For codling moth control, attach 4” corrugated cardboard bands around tree trunks in early May; in late May or early June remove and destroy bands to kill the larvae and pupae found in the cardboard.
  • Check for citrus scale and control with horticultural oil. Encourage natural enemies and protect trees from ants.
  • Continue application of sulfur or other fungicide to grapes if damp weather persists.
  • If needed, apply Tanglefoot around tree trunks to deter ants and other crawling insects.
  • Check roses for black spot, mildew and rust and spray if needed
  • Check roses for aphids; control with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.

Note: all the effective insecticidal sprays kill bees and other beneficial. Do not spray while trees are in bloom.

What to Plant in May

Plant Seed

  • Beans, beets, carrots, corn, cucumber, melons, okra, parsley, parsnip, peppers, pumpkins, radish, all squash, tomatoes.
  • Annuals
  • Cannas, lilies, tuberous begonias.

Plant Seed - Greenhouse or Cold Frame

  • Time for house cleaning.

Set out Plants

  • Eggplant, herbs, parsley, peppers, tomatoes, all vine crops.

Flowers

  • Marigolds, zinnias, snapdragons, sunflowers, hollyhock, dahlias, lobelia, salvia, cosmos.

Vegetables

  • Transplant tomatoes, eggplant and peppers as temperatures warm.
  • At cooler elevations, transplant lettuce cabbage family, collards and kale.
  • Plant cilantro and two week intervals for a steady supply.

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June

Maintenance

  • Thin apples when ½” diameter.
  • Mow general cleanup for fire protection.
  • Mulch garden beds to retain moisture and encourage deep roots by deep and infrequent watering.
  • Check sprinklers and drip systems for needed repairs and adjustments.
  • Water early in the day to conserve water and minimize plant disease.
  • Pinch back tips of chrysanthemums, fuchsias, marguerites.
  • Tie up vines and stake tall growing dahlias, gladiolas, and lilies.
  • For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers.
  • Hang strips of foil or CD’s in fruit trees to help deter birds.
  • First summer pruning for stone fruit.
  • Thin grapes.
  • Dig and divide crowded bulbs if the tops have died down.
  • Give your indoor plants a bath.
  • Place a 1” board under pots sitting on pavement to insulate them from radiated heat.
  • Thoroughly clean debris from ponds, fountains and bird baths.
  • Check dates of Gardening Events

    Fertilize

    • Strawberries.
    • Cane berries after harvest.
    • Azaleas, camellias. rhododendron and acid loving plants.
    • Roses at bloom start.
    • Citrus. Monthly.
    • If you did not use slow release fertilizer for summer bloomers. Give then a feeding now.
    • Fertilize vegetables monthly.
    • Feed indoor plants with slow release fertilizer.
    • To control corn earworms, apply 20 drops of mineral oil to the silks 3-7 days after silks appear.
    • Monitor stink bugs and tomatoes, squash, etc. Hand pick.

    Spray

    • For codling moth control, attach 4” corrugated cardboard bands around tree trunks in early May; in late May or early June remove and destroy bands to kill the larvae and pupae found in the cardboard.
    • Check for citrus scale and control with horticultural oil. Encourage natural enemies and protect trees from ants.
    • If needed, apply Tanglefoot around tree trunks to deter ants and other crawling insects.
    • Check roses for black spot, mildew and rust and spray if needed
    • Check roses for aphids; control with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.
    • Spray for Peach Leaf Curl    http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7426.html
    • Note: all the effective insecticidal sprays kill bees and other beneficials. Do not spray while trees are in bloom.

    Lawns

    • Set mower blades high to reduce turf stress during the summer.
    • Deep water lawns between midnight and 10 a.m.

 

What to Plant in June

Plant Seed

  • It is getting late, but…Beans, beets, corn, cucumber, melons, parsnip, peppers, pumpkins, radish, all squash, tomatoes.
  • Gladiola corms every 2 weeks.
  • Dahlias

Set out Plants

  • Eggplant, peppers, tomatoes.
  • Annuals: ageratum, bachelor buttons, celosia, cosmos, impatiens, lobelia, marigold, petunia.

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July

Maintenance

  • Watering and pest control are top of the "To Do" list.
  • Water after midnight and before 10am to reduce the chance of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.
  • Pinch off the top pair of leaves on all chrysanthemum shoots longer than 5" to keep plants bushy and produce more flowers.
  • Cut spent berry canes to the ground; tie up and fertilize new canes.
  • Cut canna stems to the ground as they finish flowering; new stems will continue to appear.
  • Prune fruit bushes again.
  • Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage continued production.
  • Dig and divide over-crowded irises and bulbs when the foliage dies off.
  • Remove spent flowers of daylilies, roses, and other bloomers a they finish flowering.
  • Fertilize roses.
  • Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.
  • Trim faded crape myrtle flowers for more fall bloom.
  • Pick up dropped fruit to prevent brown rot.  Clean around trees.
  • Spray off aphids with water or use insecticidal soap.
  • Pull weeds when they first appear.

What to Plant in July 

  • Flowers: Direct seed annuals, such as alyssum, celosia, sunflower, zinnias, and marigolds.

    Vegetables: At higher, cooler elevations, direct seed summer squash, bush beans, summer savory, and kohlrabi.

    If fruit isn't setting on your melons and squash, use a soft brush to hand-pollinate the flowers and increase production.  Use the brush to gather pollen from male flowers, then brush it onto the female flower.  (Female flowers have a tiny embryo friut at the base of their petals.)

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August

Maintenance

  • Continue mulching to conserve soil moisture and control weeds.
  • Keep harvesting vegetables for continued production.
  • Do the final pruning of summer for fruit bushes.
  • Prune apricots to avoid Eutypa fundus.  Remove about 20% of this year's growth.
  • To prevent the spread of brown rot, clean up debris around fruit trees and pick up dropped fruit.
  • Control salt build-up on indoor plants; hose off the leaves and flush the soil with ample water.
  • Attach bands of corrugated cardboard aorund apple tree trunks to trap codling moth larvae.

Fertilize

  • Camellias, azaleas, and gardenias with chelated iron if there is yellowing between the leaf veins.
  • Indoor plants
  • Strawberries
  • Mature fruit trees (after picking fruit) with Nitrogen and water
  • Roses, six weeks after last application
  • Last feeding of the year for citrus and avocados
  • Chrysanthemums (until the buds start to open)
  • Begonias, fuchsias, annuals and container plants

Spray

  • Walnuts for husk fly
  • Pears and apples: check instructions to be sure pre-harvest intervals are strictly observed

Flowers:

  • Seed winter annuals this month. 
  • Sow seeds of perennials in flats or pots for transplanting in October. 
  • Try thrift, yarrow, coneflower and salvia. 

Vegetables:

  • In a cool location indoors, start seeds of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bunching onion, and radicchio for over-wintering. 
  • Direct seed oriental greens, beets, carrots, lettuce, turnips, Florence fennel, mustard, radish, rutabaga, spinich, and leeks.

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September

  • Compost disease-free annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.
  • Cultivate and add compost to the soil for fall and winter vegetables and annuals.
  • Dig, divide, and replant overgrown perennials as they finish blooming.
  • Weed and amend beds before replanting.
  • If not purchased pre-chilled, put tuilip, narcissus, and hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator for 6 weeks prior to planting.
  • Sow native bunch grass seed on bare slopes to prevent erosion.
  • Mulch cane berries.
  • Consider extending vegetable season with floating row cover, mulch, or plastic domes.  (Gallon milk containers with the bottom removed work well.)

Fertilize

  • Mature fruit trees
  • Young conifers, but not those over two years old
  • Chrysanthemums

Spray

  • Table grapes for powdery mildew

Flowers:

  • Sow seeds for columbine, lupine, California poppy.
  • Divide and replant perennials.
  • Transplant cool-weather annuals such as violas, pansies, fairy primroses, calendulas, cyclamen, stock, and snapdragons.
  • Divide and replant bulbs and rhizomes.

Vegetables:

  • Transplant cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.
  • Direct seed beets, bok choy, spinach, lettuce, peas, radishes, carrots, chard, parsley, and cilantro.

Lawns:

  • This is the ideal time to sow a new lawn or reseed bare spots.
  • Think about reducing the size of your lawn to conserve resources.

Cover Crops:

  • Seed for erosion control on slopes.
  • Plant clover or fava beans to improve soil structure in your vegetable garden.

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October

  • Clean out flower and vegetable gardens to discourage diseases and pests from overwintering in your beds.
  • Rake leaves from ditches to make way for the rain that's coming.
  • Re-program drip system timers for cooler weather and rain.
  • Update your garden journal, noting what worked and what didn't work.  Look around at the fall color you might want to plant for next year
  • Mulch or mow leaves on your lawn and add to your compost pile - either an existing one or a new one.
  • Apply a thick layer of compost to enrich your soil for spring planting.
  • Apply mulch to bulbs and tubers left in the ground.
  • Deadhead spent flowers.
  • Lift tuberous begonias.
  • Divide lilies.
  • Cut back and divide spent perennial phlox asters.
  • Cover compost bins with plastic tarps once the rains begin.
  • Clean out bird houses and bird feeders.
  • Cut old berry canes and tie the new canes to support wires. It's easy to identify the old canes now - they're turning brown.
  • Finish pruning any fruit trees after the last fruit is removed.

Fertilize

  • Established lawns
  • Indoor plants
  • Persimmons and pomegranates before dormancy
  • Chrysanthemums

Spray

  • First dormant spray of stone fruits when leaves fall.
  • Citrus with copper for brown rot.  Pay special attention to lower branches and ground under tree.
  • Cane berries with copper before winter rains.

Trees, shrubs, perennials

  • October and November are the bestmonths to plant.
  • Acorns for new oak trees.  Acorns do best with 30 days cold treatment.
  • Install drought tolerant shrubs and perennials such as barberry, ceanothus, dogwood, iris, fremontia, manzanita, Oregon grape, penstemon, redbud, rockrose, smoke tree, toyon.
  • Plant spring bulbs! You have about 2 months to get them in the ground.

 Flowers

  • Direct seed cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, lupine, columbine, sweet pea, garden pea, and stock.
  • Above 200': direct seed crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, scilla, tulips
  • Continue to set out cool-weather bedding plants such as calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

Vegetables

  • Plant onions, garlic, artichokes and asparagus before frost.
  • Direct seed beets, bok choy, spinach, peas, mustard, radishes.
  • At warmer elevations, plant potatoes now through March.

Lawns

  • This is an ideal time to reseed bare spots.
  • Think about reducing the size of, or removing, your lawn to conserve resources.

Cover Crops

  • Seed for erosion control on slopes.
  • Clover or fava beans to improve soil structure in your vegetable garden.

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November

Maintenance 

  • Prune and clean up for fire prevention.
  • Oil and sharpen tools.  Sand handles.  Either varnish or spray paint handles to make them easy to find in the garden.
  • Pull summer annuals and vegetables.
  • Prune dead and broken branches on trees and shrubs.
  • Rake and compost leaves and plant materials.  Dispose of diseased materials.
  • Water plants that rains cannot reach.
  • Remove the bands of corrugated cardboard used to trap codling moth larvae from around apple tree trunks and dispose of them.
  • Apply mulch.
  • Remove “mummies” from fruit trees after.

Fertilize

  • Feed the cool-season flowers and veggies you planted last month.
  • Fertilize and irrigate peach trees just after harvest.

Spray

  • Spray stone fruit trees for leaf curl, shot hole fungus and pseudomonia canker before first heavy rain; use fixed copper.
 

What to Plant in November

  • November is the best months to plant trees and shrubs.
  • Root evergreen cuttings:  boxwood, English ivy, holly, juniper, yew.

Flowers

  • Direct seed wildflowers.
  • Plant the bulbs you have chilling in the refrigerator.  tulips, narcissus, daffodil, and hyacinths.  Set some in pots for winter forcing.
  • Plant corms: crocus, gladiolus, tuberous begonias.
  • Plant tubers: dahlias, begonias, caladiums, and anemones.
  • Plant even more spring-blooming flowers such as sweet peas, clarkia, calendula, and California poppy.
  • Last chance to set out cool-weather annuals.
  • Below 2000’: garlic cloves, Jerusalem artichoke.  Seeds for mustard, onion, parsley, radish, Savoy spinach, cover crops

Vegetables

  • Plant onions, garlic, artichokes and asparagus before frost.
  • Direct seed bok choy, spinach, peas, mustard, and radishes.
  • Plant bare-root artichokes now through March.
  • At warmer elevations, plant potatoes now through March.

Lawns

  • Think about reducing the size of, or removing, your lawn to conserve resources.

Cover Crops

  • Seed for erosion control on slopes.
  • Plant clover or fava beans to improve soil structure in your vegetable garden.

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December

Maintenance

  • Continue to rake up leaves for composting and to control pests and diseases.
  • Clean up garden beds.
  • Keep an eye on the weather report, protect frost-tender plants when the temperature falls below 32 degrees.
  • Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.
  • Clean up debris around fruit trees to prevent disease.
  • Mulch, water, and cover tender plants to protect from frost.  Be sure to remove coverings during the day.
  • The birds stay in Northern California through the winter.  Since flowers are scarce in most gardens now, it’s important to keep your feeder filled; clean and refill it every few days.

Fertilize

  • Apply chelated iron to azaleas, gardenias and camellias if leaves are yellowing between the veins.
  • Feed annuals with a complete fertilizer once a month or fish emulsion every two weeks.

Spray

  • To smother overwintering insect eggs and pest such as aphids and mites, and scale, spray deciduous flowering and fruit trees as well as roses with dormant oil after the leaves have fallen.

 

What to Plant in December

Trees, shrubs, perennials

  • Choose and plant camellias and azaleas.
  • Bare-root roses start appearing in nurseries this month.  Shop while selections are good.
  • Choose a living Christmas tree; keep it outside until Christmas week.  Dig a hole now to plant after the holidays.

Flowers

  • Brighten the Holidays with poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies, Christmas cactus, and primroses.
  • Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location: feed monthly, water thoroughly.
  • Continue to plant tulips, narcissus, daffodil, and hyacinths for a longer show of blooms in the spring.
  • Take advantage of end-of-the-year bulb sales; plant at once.
  • Prune for Holiday Greens.  Holly, juniper, pittosporum, podocarpus, pyracantha, and toyon all benefit from a winter grooming.  Use the cuttings for holiday decorations.

Vegetables

  • Late this month nurseries begin selling bare-root artichokes, asparagus, berries, grapes, kiwifruit, horseradish, and rhubarb.  Buy and plant early in the month while roots are still fresh.  If the soil is too wet to plant, temporarily cover the roots with moistened mulch to keep them from drying out.
  • Plant seeds for cabbage and spring lettuce in a cold frame or in the greenhouse.

Lawns

  • Turn off your automatic sprinklers once the winter rains get started.

Cover Crops

  • Even small gardens will benefit from the use of cover crops, or “green manures”.  Tilling, weeding, harvesting and foot traffic in most home gardens tends to destroy soil structure.  Planting cover crops such as grasses or legumes is an easy way to revitalize the soil.

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