Brussel Sprouts

Prepare gardens for the cooler temperatures of winter.

Tip of the Month

Meet the Brassicas — otherwise known as the cole or cabbage family. The original Brassica oleracea can be traced back to one plant — the wild mustard that grew thousands of years ago in coastal Europe and the Mediterranean region.

This family of plants is large and diverse, and they have been selectively bred to produce delicious roots, leaves, stems and flower buds. Over time these have evolved into various cultivars in all colors, shapes and sizes.

Short-season greens like baby kale, mustard greens, or bok choy are some of the easiest to grow. Longer-season crops include broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Cauliflower often is considered the trickiest brassica to grow because it is very sensitive to heat and drought stress. Regular watering will help promote healthy growth, although heat and drought stress can cause strong, bitter flavor and early bolting. Drip irrigation is a convenient and reliable way to water.

 

Plant

Plant winter color annuals such as cyclamen, primrose, pansies, violas, lobelia, snapdragon, petunia, gazania, nasturtium and sweet pea.

Sow seeds for beets, bok choy, bulb and green onions, collards, endive, kale, leaf lettuce, leeks, mustard greens, peas, radishes and spinach.

Plant colorful perennials such as angelita daisy, gaura, hummingbird trumpet sage and Mount Lemmon marigold.

Sow wildflower seeds by mid month to take advantage of winter rains.

Choose a location that receives full sun in winter.

Transplant

Continue transplanting desert adapted trees and shrubs, ground covers, vines, cacti, succulents and grasses.

Transplant culinary herbs such as cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, marjoram, mint, chives, rosemary, catnip, oregano, society garlic and sorrel.

Also, transplant broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and chard.

Set out rain lily bulbs now.

Plant them under trees or among rocks.

Prepare

Move tender potted plants to sunnier locations or in protected spots under porches, eaves or tree canopies.

Don’t water cacti and succulents before frosts.

Place polystyrene cups over the tops of columnar cacti.

Drape small trees with frost cloth; wrap young citrus trunks with burlap.

Water

Adjust automatic irrigation timers to reduce water.

Irrigate citrus trees about every three weeks to a depth of three feet.

As weather cools, less water helps prepare plants for dormancy.

Harvest

The first of the winter vegetables will include radishes, spinach, arugula and leaf lettuce.

Test citrus to determine ripeness. Tangerines ripen first, followed by navel oranges, tangelos, lemons and limes.