My chocolate flowers (Berlandiera Lyrata) have a lovely cocoa scent along with these happy little yellow daisy flowers. The dried seed heads, used by Native Americans, added flavoring to sausage like foods.
Fruit, Bare Root
Ornamental Cabbage/Kale (Brassica Oleracea)
Primrose (Primula Vulgaris)
Watermelon (by seed December 15 and after)
EDIBLE FLOWERS TO PLANT:
Jasmine Sambac (Arabian)
Sweet William (Dianthus)
GARDEN TIPS for December
Holiday time can be stressful. Your edible garden can be an oasis from stress. With citrus fruit ripening like yellow and orange ornaments, pansies blooming, and dill waving in the breeze, winter is only a state of mind here in the Desert Southwest.
November through January can be a ‘rainy’ season for the desert. You can usually hold off on regular watering if you have received a half inch or more of rain within 2 days of normal watering days (except for trees unless you receive 1 inch or more). Make good use of your water meter to determine soil moisture.
If rains are heavy this month, in addition to foregoing some water days, you may need to put down Ironite or Green Sand to compensate for mineral bonding (which makes iron unavailable to the plants) due to both the excess water and the cold soil. Ironite is not a fertilizer so it will not burn plants -- apply to the drip line (edge) of tree canopy.
As the temperatures rise or decrease, a guide (this is only a guide! make use of your moisture meter to check moisture content of soil) For mature gardens would be:
70s water every 5-6 days for all but trees
80s water every 4-5 days for all but trees
90s water every 3-4 days for all but trees
100s water every 2-3 days for all but trees
Garden Design tip - if you are considering laying out a new garden, use Ironite to 'draw' the garden layout on the soil, easy and safe.
FROST damage: Do not prune until danger of frost is over - the damaged plant protects the lower growth.
Prune citrus and deciduous fruit trees in December, or no later than early January before flowering starts.
Occasionally our crazy peach trees drive Deane nuts because they still have leaves on them when they start to flower in late December or early January.
The idea with pruning deciduous trees is to get it done before the 'sap starts running' in the warming spring weather. Because we do not usually have extended cold spells some of the stone fruit trees may not actually go into full dormancy.
The commercial growers like Schnepf Farms have simply adopted the practice of prunning their peach etc. trees after December 15th. This ensures that flower buds will not be pruned off later on.
There is always the challenge of a cold spell coming in January or February while the stone fruit trees are coming into bloom, which in other areas of the country might mean the severe limiting of fruit production. Here we have not generally found that a short cold period has killed off the flower bloom/fruit production.
If you feel you are in a colder area, you can cover the blooming peaches, apricots, plums and apples with cloth covers if you can reach high enough to make it worth the effort.
FRUIT TREE PESTS
Peach tree borers are a problem here in the valley as the special hybrid stone fruit trees are more vulnerable to borers because the pests are not killed off as readily as in very cold areas of the country.
Winter 'dormancy' of the trees is the time to consider treating the trees to an oil spray to discourage the darn pests
Generally called "dormant oil" or "horticulture oil" this is a heavy oil based control which is designed to smother the pests, and therefore can't be applied to the active growing parts of any plants. It is sprayed on the trunks of stone fruit (not evergreen like citrus) from the soil-base line up. Make sure you read the instructions carefully.
If peach and other stone fruit trees are new to you and your garden, look for swelling on the buds/edges of each branch which indicates the tree is going into active growth and DO NOT use the spray on those areas.
I hope you have a wonderful time in the garden and the kitchen with your bounty.
You can find my calendars to give you all the monthly planting information at your finger tips on my sidebar here on the blog.
-- Catherine, The Herb Lady
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