7 WEEKS BEFORE FIRST EXPECTED FROST (DEC. 10)
Whiteflies and new aphids are out and flourishing with this nice weather and the new growth in your garden. They think it’s spring.
We’ve talked about aphids many times before so this time we’ll focus on whiteflies.
Whiteflies look like very small white flies
Some of the stages of development are nearly impossible to see, look like clear pale yellow scale
They hang out on the underside of leaves so you may not notice them
They will fly away in a powdery cloud when disturbed
Females can reproduce 24 hrs after hatching
Whiteflies excrete honey dew (a clear drop of sweet fluid) that feeds sooty mold (looks like black dust on plants)
Ants are also attracted to the honey dew
Whiteflies spread disease
They pierce and damage the leaves with their mouth parts and suck out juices
To manage whiteflies:
Use a very fine water spray/mist on them
Use a very fine insecticidal soap spray/mist on them
Use yellow sticky traps (yellow pieces of cardboard with a light coating of petroleum jelly on it) to trap them (they are attracted to yellow)
An interesting, close-up video of whiteflies
Zone 9’s first frost date is expected between mid-November and mid-January or soâ€¦ very ambiguous. This check sheet is created using a mid-date of December 10th. The first frost date can be expected a couple of weeks earlier in northern areas of Zone 9 and a couple of weeks later in the southern areas of Zone 9.
7 Weeks Before First Expected Frost (December 10th)
- Continue with your gardening journal – list what you are doing, observations, weather…
- ** CHECK YOUR GARDEN AND OTHER GROWING SPACES FOR ADEQUATE LIGHT AND SHADING” MAKE NECESSARY CORRECTIONS!!!
- Add compost and other soil amendments
- Consider growing a wall or hanging garden
- Fertilize as needed – but less than usual
- Look for specialty fertilizing needs (focusing more on root growth than foliage growth)
- Get strawberry plants – be sure they are for zone 9. Buy them in bare-root bunches, not individual potted plants. Sometimes feed stores, garden centers, and hardware stores will have them and you can order them through a seed/plant/nursery company
- Last chance to take cuttings of fruiting plants to root
- CHECK FOR WHITEFLIES
- CHECK FOR APHIDS
SEEDS TO PLANT
Plant in the ground – transplants and seeds
The soil temperature is not warm enough, the days are not long enough, and there isn’t enough warm growing weather left to plant any squashes, melons, cucs, tomatoes, etc. except if you want to plant them in containers that can be placed in a warm place and be provided with extra hours of light, or a greenhouse that will provide the extras)
- Brussels sprouts
- Chinese cabbage
- Onion – bulbing
- Onion – multiplier
- Onion – bunching
- Garlic – for fun, consider trying elephant garlic. Buy some bulbs from the grocery store.
- Fruit trees and bushes (citrus, blueberries, etc.) They will develop roots and then bud out and grow in the spring
CONTAINERS (for container gardening)
(Plant your container garden just the same as for non-container garden)
You can try growing some of the warm weather plants in containers if you can move/keep the containers to a protected warm place and provide extra light.
PAY EXTRA SPECIAL ATTENTION TO WATERING CONTAINERED PLANTS!!! Your plants have filled their containers with roots and suck the water out of the soil, drying it out really really quickly, particularly large or mature plants with a well established root system
- Weed – always be weeding
- Keep an eye on water needs – Check twice a day (This is a dry time of year and less humid. Gardens and plants can get stressed reeeeal quickly)
- HARVEST – as soon as items are ready… plants are growing slower and don’t have as much energy to mature produce… give them a break
- Rake leaves and collect leaves and grass clippings curbside for your compost pile and mulch
- Turn your compost pile – start another compost pile or two