Friday, February 23 , 2018, 8:36 am | Fair 48º


Die-Hard Southern California Gardeners Can Keep Busy in December

Southern California gardens will do fine without much care in December, but dedicated gardeners can still keep busy as winter takes hold, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly compost products made from organic material collected from more than 50 California cities, including those in Santa Barbara County.

» Keep an eye on the weather: Although Dec. 21 is the first day of winter, December can also bring temperatures in the 80s in Southern California. If a heat wave hits, keep your plants well watered. Watering is also is recommended if there is frost warning. A hydrated plant can rebound faster after a frost than a “dry” plant.

» Cover bare spots in your lawn: If your lawn has bare or brown spots, scatter grass seed and water. If the weather remains dry for the month, you should water as needed.

» Plant California natives: Winter is growing season for California native plants. Add them to your landscape as shrubs, groundcover and perennials. Varieties include sage, Manzanita and ceanothus, California buckwheat, snapdragon and native grasses. Your local nursery should have a variety on hand especially for your area.

» Compost grass clippings and fallen leaves: Leaves, grass clippings and small twigs and branches make good mulch. Place them in a pile and cover with a tarp to hold in heat and to keep rain from washing out nutrients. Turn every few days. Once composted, spread them around your garden.

» Plant spring bulbs: Now is the time to remove chilled spring bulbs from your refrigerator (including tulips and hyacinths) and plant them. Plant bulbs in 5 to 6 inches of soil.

» Planting window still open: For those who just cannot stay out of the garden, harvest still-producing vegetables and plant more. Vegetables that do well this time of year include artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, peas, potatoes and radishes.

» Recycle your Christmas tree: Most trash collection companies offer curbside recycling of Christmas trees. They require either that the trees be cut in half and placed in the green recycling container or placed alongside other collection containers. Make sure all ornaments and tinsel are removed before placing the tree out for pick up. The trees will be composted so they need to be free of all non-organic material.

Click here for more gardening tips.

— Diane Rumbaugh is a publicist representing Agromin.

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