In the Garden
by SCMG Jennifer Roberts
By SCMG Joe Michalek
Harvesting & Preserving Garden Bounty
Food Garden Tips
Spray fixed copper to peach trees after leaves have fallen to control peach leaf curl and brown rot.
Spray fruit trees with organic and vegetable oil-based dormant oil. The oil smothers overwintering insect eggs and pests.
Dormant pruning of fruit trees can be done from the beginning of leaf fall up to bloom. See UC guidance on pruning and training fruit trees. Little or no pruning of citrus is required: prune out any crossing, broken or shaded out branches from the interior of the tree.
If a heavy freeze is predicted, cover citrus trees with burlap draped over stakes, keeping the fabric away from foliage and fruit.
Grow sprouts and herbs in a sunny kitchen window.
Read up on cold frames, plastic tunnels, row covers, cloches and other plant protection in order to extend the growing season next year. Take advantage of sales on the supplies you will need for planting early spring crops.
December 21 is the shortest day of the year with the longest shadows. At high noon, note where the yard is sunniest – this is the best place to plant your fall and winter food garden next year.
With fewer gardening tasks, this is a good month to research perennial weed problems. Look at University of California’s weed photo gallery to identify weeds and watch a video on weed control techniques
Inspect crops regularly throughout their growing season for early problem diagnosis and resolution. Refer to University of California’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) site. Spraying with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) will organically control any cabbage worms that you find in your winter garden.
WHAT TO PLANT THIS MONTH:
RHUBARB, Dec-Mar, C, D/T, 1 yr maturity from roots, 3 yrs from seed
*NOTE: Planting dates are approximate for Sonoma County; weather patterns, microclimate and other growing conditions must be considered when direct seeding and transplanting. “Days to maturity” is approximate and depends on the vegetable variety and your garden’s specific growing conditions. This information will facilitate planting dates that lead to successful production before the growing season ends.
W = warm season crops that grow best in soil temps of 65-80 degrees and air temps of 75-90 degrees and little cooling at night.
W+ = warm season crops that need extra protection to keep them warm if planted early in season.
C = cool season crops that grow best in soil temps of 60-65 degrees and air temps of 65-75 degrees.
D = seed is usually sown directly in the garden
T = crops are usually planted from transplants
D/T = seeds can be planted directly into soil or transplants can be used
Selected Kitchen Garden Recipes
Dilled Cucumber Soup
Bok Choy Stir-Fry
Carciofi alla Romana
Classic French Omelet with Herbs de Provence
Fennel Pollen Update
Fennel-Pollen Crusted Halibut
Grandma's Herbed Triscuit Hors d'oeuvres
Grilled Padron Peppers
Honey Fig Jam
Lemony Rice and Shrimp Salad
Other Fennel Recipes