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TO PLANT:  If you haven’t done so, it is time to plan and plant your winter vegetable garden.  You should pay special attention to the pots on your patio.  Nurseries are loaded with colorful flowering plants for pots.  Make sure you use all new potting soil for your winter-over plants.  I love cyclamen, pansies, and violas, for color thru the winter months.  While you are at it you might add some spring blooming bulbs to the pots for some added color.  I have seen Chinese mustard, salad greens, and other colorful edibles added to my patio pots for color as well as something fresh to eat.  If you are planning on planting an orchard, check with your local nursery and find out what is available, or order something they might not have thought of.  In December you will be able to plant bare-root materials such as blue berries and other small fruit.  It is imperative to plant wildflower seeds.  If the winter rains don’t happen, you will have to water them.  It is a good idea to remember this when scattering the seeds.  If it doesn’t rain the seeds may not sprout or if they do, they might just dry up for lack of moisture.  Chrysanthemums in four inch pots can add some instant color to your garden when guests are expected.  Now is the time to plant Fava Beans. 


TO DO:   If you are planning to do some landscaping this winter, it is a good idea to start digging the holes where the new plants will go.  Start mowing your lawn a little higher and if you are wanting to control Bermuda grass in your lawn, spray the lawn with Turflon* Ester now to control dandelions as well. It is a product distributed by Monterey Lawn and Garden Products.  Check your local nurseries for wild flower seeds.  Your houseplants are beginning to be stressed because of the change of temperature in your home.  The temperatures will also be effecting some of your out-door tender perennials.  Make sure you keep the outside pots watered in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.  Also if we do have a lot of rain you should remove the tray that is under the pot so that they dry out between storms.  Inside plants should be left on the dry side as they will stop growing due to the lower light.  I usually take my houseplants outside before the temperature changes in order to give them a good shower.  It will perk them up and keep them beautiful when the heat goes on.  Make sure the house plants are not near a heat source.  Keep the leaves raked up on the lawn.




TO PLANT:  Bare-root roses are now in the garden centers, and the sooner you get them planted, the more than likely they will have the best root system.  If you are giving a rose for Christmas, you can put it in a paper pot or many rose companies are putting them in containers.  Even if this is the case, I would bare-root them when you go to plant them.  Local nurseries will have a good supply of roses, but if you don’t find the one you want here are a couple of web sites to browse.  or   Your favorite nursery may have other selections and pictures to go with the selection.  If you have been paying attention, it is the time to plant small fruits such as raspberries, blueberries, and other small fruit such as grapes.  There is still time to plant bulbs, but it is getting late.  You will need to give them a lot of bulb food as well as more soil conditioner so they don’t have to fight to get to the surface.  You also might shop around and check out the nursery supply of living Christmas trees.


TO DO:  December is the month to put together the Christmas decorations.  I have seen several locations, including nurseries that are sponsoring classes on how to make a lot of decorations for the home.  Keep those leaves off the lawn and make sure all of the fruit is picked off your trees. 




TO PLANT:  If you haven’t planned for it, you might consider planting a perennial vegetable garden that can contain artichokes, rhubarb, and asparagus.  This is the time of year when most nurseries have roots in stock that can be planted during this time of year.  If you are looking for some color to perk up the flower garden, it is a good time to shop for four inch containers of pansies, prime roses, and many other colorful annuals.  Of all the vegetables available Chinese mustard and Arugula are the winners of the winter garden.  Lettuce starts can be planted all year long.  All nurseries will have an good supply of bare root roses as well as fruit trees.  With semi-dwarf trees you can plant several trees in one hole. Also look for trees that are grafted with more than one fruit on a single trunk.  It is a great time to think about a rose garden as well as a fruit orchard.


TO DO:  so you haven’t kept up with the yard these last few weeks because of the holidays and also feasts’ for the family.  If you are like me, I still haven’t cleaned out the bar-b of all the ashes.  On the other hand there are other things to do such as prune the fruit trees and dig out some of the stuff from the flower beds that are ugly big time. This may surprise you, but if you fertilize your lawn and fruit trees with Alfalfa pellets you will get one of the greenest lawns on the block.  This is an organic fertilizer and won’t force growth, but will furnish the nutrition the lawn will need when the growing season happens.  If you haven’t planted any cover crops for the garden, it is pretty much too late.  This is where alfalfa pellets can make a difference.   If you are planning to do some major landscaping this spring, now is the time to bring in a professional designer.  If you wait until planting time, they won’t be as available as they are now.  This is after all the slow season. 

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