Q: I know it is still winter but I’m ready to work in the garden. What can I do in my yard this time of year?
San Luis Obispo
A: There are many things to be done in gardens in February. Coastal locations are usually frost-free and inland areas are warming up during the day. Finish pruning dormant trees and shrubs and vines like grapes and berries. Cut back fuchsias to desired shape.
Watch for aphid invasions and use a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to control. Apply a final dormant spray to peaches and nectarines if peach leaf curl was severe last year. Be on the watch for snails and slugs.
Later in the month in coastal areas, apply organic sources of nutrients such as well-composted manure, bone meal and cottonseed meal. Work into the top three inches of soil. Fertilize citrus and fruit trees with balanced fertilizers. There’s no need to feed native or Mediterranean plants. Deadhead cool season flowers to keep them blooming.
Begin planting; late winter is the time to sow alyssum, achillea, aster, calendula, coreopsis, rudbeckia, scabiosa, California and Shirley poppies, and wildflowers. Spring bulbs such as amaryllis, caladium, calla lily, canna, dahlia, daylily, bearded and Dutch iris, and gladiolas, are ready for planting.
Vegetable beds are ready to be put to use. Coastal gardeners can plant beets, carrots, kohlrabi, lettuce, potato eyes, and snow peas. Inland gardeners can plant beets, radishes, potato eyes, spinach, and/or start seeds of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower indoors or in a coldframe for transplanting later when the soil warms. Sow parsley seeds, endive, leek, lettuce, and turnips.
Put in garlic, shallot and bulb onion sets. Now is a good time to transplant artichoke and asparagus crowns and rhubarb rhizomes.
Get an early start and your garden will flourish!
For more information on fruit tree pruning, visit http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu.