Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Where has the year gone?

It is now December. Hurricane season has officially ended. Gardeners new to the area want to know what to plant. We are in our "Cool Season Crops" time of year. Most leafy vegetables are appropriate such as Swiss chard, collards, cabbage, lettuce, kale and the like. Also, the root vegetables are excellent choices at this time of year including beets, turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, carrots and onions. Don't foget that many herbs are excellent at this time of year too.

Water is most critical at this time of year with every plant slowing down, we want to keep our Cool Season vegetables growing. MODERATELY MOIST is the key and with the winter winds blowing over the top of our plants there will be a great deal of moisture taken out of the ground; more that you can anticipate. Use a microirrigation system on a timer if you wish; they are exempt from Water Management District rules for irrigation. Otherwise you will need a hose near the garden with a positive shut off. When is it moist? When it feels moist --- put your hand on the soil.

Pests can be problems at this time of year too. Read and follow all instructions on the pesticide label. Most of your problems can be hand picked and tossed into a bucket of soapy water. Insecticidal soap will take care of the aphid, white fly and spider mites. Chilli thrips will need a shot of the natural control "Spinosad". Small cateripllars on your cabbages and collards can be hand picked or killed with the natural control "Bt" which is found as Dipel or Thuricide.

Just because it is winter does not mean we give up vegetable gardening. There is no need to give up until June when it is too hot to stay out in the garden.

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