Pruning, picking and transplanting: What you can do in the garden this week, Dec. 28-Jan. 3

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1. Happy New Year in a few more days! Continue harvesting winter vegetables planted in autumn. Replace those harvested completely, such as spinach, cauliflower, cabbages, radishes, beets and turnips. These new plants will be ready to harvest around Valentine’s Day, and then there will still be time to put in one more round. For plants that produce an on-going harvest – like peas, snap peas, Chinese peas and Swiss chard – pick the edibles regularly and feed the plants lightly every few weeks to keep the plants productive.

2. Start pruning bush roses now, or by mid-February at the latest, but hold off on pruning climbers until after they bloom in spring. For bush roses, first cut the bush down halfway then completely remove all the foliage to reduce springtime diseases. Cut out dead and weak canes, and try to open the center so the remaining canes radiate out in a bowl shape, if possible. Finally, reduce the overall height to 12 inches for lower-growing types, and 15-20 inches for higher-growing types.

3. Transplant rooted boysenberry and olallieberry plantlets from now through mid-January, removing all the foliage and cutting the tops back to a length of six inches. Longer canes often dry out and die before new roots can support them. Plant these starts in a sunny spot and keep the ground moist. They’ll start growing rapidly in the spring.

4. If you want more crape myrtle plants, they are easy to propagate in late December and early January, using dormant shoots from the base of desirable plants, or other strong shoots, about the size and thickness of a new lead pencil. Apply Rootone lightly at the base of each cutting and plant in a sunny location about six inches deep in sandy soil, kept moist but not soggy. Some of them will root, sprouting new leaves by May and sporting their first flowers next summer. Feed them lightly after they start growing vigorously.

5. Within the next week, you can start your own peaches, plums, nectarines and other deciduous fruit trees from 24-inch cuttings. Use stems that formed this year, and cut the bottoms on a long angle to expose as much cambium as possible then coat the cut ends with Rootone. Use a water hose or piece of pipe to jet holes in the ground 18 inches deep; place cuttings in the holes; sift fine soil around them. Keep the cuttings moist; and they will gradually develop into full-size fruit trees.

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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