Friday, February 1, 2013

Northern California February To-Do List

As the rainy season ends, gardening heats up! While some perennials are hitting their stride this month, there’s still time to get annual flowers and vegetables in the ground for a lush and productive summer garden.

    Pay a little extra attention to roses. They’re coming into their glory this month, but that means they’re also more attractive to pests. Watch for aphids on tender new growth and blast them with a hose to remove them. Trim leaves as necessary to keep air circulating throughout the bush and remove any leaves that show signs of powdery mildew, rust or black spot. Water in the morning. If you haven’t been fertilizing yet, be sure to do so now.

    Transplant vegetable seedlings. Buy healthy tomato, pepper, bean, cucumber, pumpkin, squash and melon plants to plant in the ground or in containers. If roots are matted, gently loosen them by hand before planting them in a hole that is as deep as the root ball. Plant tomato seedlings deep; new roots will form along the part of the stem that is below ground, creating a better root system and a healthier plant.

    Create quick pops of color with six-packs of annual flowers. Those inexpensive six-packs of marigolds, zinnias, cosmos and other annuals can make a big impact as they fill in bare spots or overflow containers to transform a humdrum corner. In a matter of weeks, they’ll have filled out and will be blooming like crazy.

    Continue to add perennials to enhance the structure of the garden. While annuals add zing, perennials are the stalwarts of the garden. Adding dependable perennials like salvia, lavender or geranium will pay dividends for years to come.

    Plant ornamental grasses for texture and movement. The fuzzy seed heads of fountain grass or the delicate spikes of a festuca are lovely flowing in the breeze. Planted singly, they lend a softness to the landscape. Planted en masse, they create the look of a small meadow.

    Weed, weed, weed. Keep weeds in check by pulling when the seedlings are small and before deep taproots or tough runners have started to form. Every baby weed you pull now is an aggressive monster you won’t have to wrestle out of the ground in another month or two.

Courtesy of:
The Home Depot Northern California Monthly

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