Broccoli getting almost harvest-size, lettuce ready for 4th harvest
Sweet peppers, "hot-weather" plants producing all winter long
Artichoke - notice different foliage shapes: youngest leaves are uncut, more mature leaves have distinctive cut margins
Cilantro (top right) almost ready to harvest by cutting just above the growing point. Parsley (bottom right) is more slow-growing. Beets (left side, 5 different varieties) need weeks more for bulbs to reach 1.5 inches, my preferred size for harvest. If you want to harvest leaves a couple of times, you won't get very large bulbs since you're depleting the plant's energy.
What a great way to end 2016 and begin 2017 – with LOTS of rain! Yay! So glorious to relish each gentle drop over long hours so the soil was able to absorb all the goodness…and then have those downpours that really filled the soil's air pores so the moisture could sink deeply down into rootzones. Love it! With the promise of more on-and-off-again showers at least through the coming week, I’m definitely looking forward to continually happy trees and plants! Yesterday, I went up the hill to document all the wonderful color and lush edibles flourishing in the chill. The glory of living in Southern California was so apparent. Sharing it all with you here!
Pruning Tasks Through Mid-February The big tasks of the month – really through about mid-February when tree fruit blossoms start opening – are planting bareroot fruit trees and roses, and pruning to guide new growth. If you can, attend as many of the various workshops available at botanic gardens and nurseries as you can to increase your comfort level in dealing with your own plants. See the “Upcoming Events” on my homepage, and also the “Botanic Gardens…” listing on the “Events” menu item page. Truly, try not to get too worried about ruining your plants with your first attempts at pruning. The plants want to grow, so chances are they’ll survive whatever you do to them. And then you’ll observe what the results were and consequently how to alter your efforts next time around. In addition, with more recent recommendations to accomplish “summer” pruning – which really means pruning to guide growth throughout the year – you needn’t feel that you have only this one chance each year to do it correctly. What a relief! Allow yourself to learn as you go, and your trees will reward you...maybe not this year but certainly after that! I'll discuss all of this in more detail in upcoming blogs, but for now, here're the basics to get you started:
Remove broken, crossing, or diseased branches
Keep height within desired range for easy harvesting
Trim just above outward-facing buds.
Cut out slender twiggy growth so energy reverts to strong canes.
Height is your choice – 12 inches, 18 inches, 3 feet, whatever you prefer relative to the strength of the plant.
Leave stub of no more than one-quarter of an inch. More will cause dieback that may extend further down the stem.
Trim down to bottom-most new buds.
Deciduous Fruit Trees
Object is to keep new growth limited to about six feet tall and wide for easy harvesting.
Cut back branches with buds about half way.
“Summer” Pruning Year Around
Trim back after flowering plants blossom, or trees fruit.This will encourage new growth that you can again cut back for fuller plant foliage and blossoming or fruiting within your desired height range.