Happy winter solstice and a new season! Marking the official start of winter, Sunday will be the shortest day of the year – which means this weekend is a great time to plant garlic and onions for harvest next summer.
▪ Winter vegetables can still go in the ground. Transplant asparagus roots along with seedlings for bok choy, kale and leaf lettuce.
▪ Seed directly into garden beds fava beans, broccoli, mustard, radicchio and radishes.
▪ Start indoors early spring annuals such as aster, calendula, cornflower and cosmos.
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▪ When it rains, remember to turn off irrigation. One inch of rain means the sprinklers can stay off at least a week. Check soil for moisture before turning your system back on.
▪ Remember to give a drink to plants that rain doesn’t reach, such as under eaves or evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants. If nighttime temperatures are expected to plummet, make sure your tender plants are saturated before the sun goes down.
▪ Poinsettias and cyclamens – traditional holiday gift plants – will last longer if placed in a warm sunny location away from heating vents or drafts. Poke holes in the foil wrapper for drainage and place the potted plant on a plate or saucer.
▪ Bring in branches of pyracantha, holly, toyon or other berry-bearing foliage to decorate your home. Also good are boughs of cedar, pine, redwood, fir, juniper, spruce, cypress or other evergreens.
▪ Plant bulbs such as daffodils, callas and Dutch iris. Overplant with winter annuals such as pansies or Icelandic poppies.