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Garden checklist: Celebrate winter; plant onions

Asparagus roots can be transplanted now for harvest later.
Asparagus roots can be transplanted now for harvest later. Bigstock

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.

▪ 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.

Debbie Arrington

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