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Around the Yard

November 16, 2000|ROBERT SMAUS

Things to do this week:

Keep on planting. If you planted something before the recent rains, notice how much easier it is to care for at this time of the year. Unless you live in an area buffeted by Santa Ana winds, new plants take a long time to dry out so they still look perky days after a watering or rain.

Now is prime planting weather for all sorts of trees, shrubs, cool-season vegetables and winter and spring-blooming bedding plants.

For vegetables, sow or transplant fava beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, cilantro (coriander), garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard, onion, parsley, peas, radishes, shallots and spinach.

For quick color, try alyssum, baby's breath, bachelor buttons, calendula, campanula, candytuft, coral bell, cyclamen, gazania, English and Shasta daisy, delphinium, dianthus, forget-me-not, foxglove, hollyhock, larkspur, linaria, penstemon, phlox, California and Shirley poppy, primrose, snapdragon, stock, sweet pea and viola.

* Dig tubers and rhizomes. Unless soil is exceptionally fast-draining, dig up tubers of begonias, rhizomes of dahlias and caladium and gladiolus corms and store them in a cool, dark, dry place until spring. Left in the ground, they might rot in winter's rains.

* Protect tender plants. Many cactus come from natural habitats that are dry all winter, so it is generally a good idea to move cactus under eaves to shield them from rain and frost. But try to place them in a spot that is sunny so they will stay warm and dry.

According to the Los Angeles Common Ground community garden project, you can protect subtropical fruit trees like avocados and young citrus from frosts by watering them thoroughly at this time of year, but don't fertilize until weather warms in spring. The tendency is to stop watering in fall and winter, but that is not a good idea unless it rains a lot.

Even tomatoes that were planted late in summer can be kept going if they are covered with plastic on cold nights. One experienced gardener told me he even leaves covers on during the day for added warmth.

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