If you’re like me, these beautiful afternoons in the Central Valley have me itching to get some gardening done. However, it is still very early to be doing too much, but there are a few things that we recommend for gardening in winter:
1. Fertilize winter annuals like Cyclamen, Pansies, etc.
The cold, wet winter has made blooming winter annuals a little ragged, so feeding them now as the days are getting longer will give them an extra push for gorgeous color for the rest of this season. I recommend an excellent water-soluble fertilizer encouraging blooming, like Master Bloom or MaxSea Bloom.
2. Clean up. If you haven’t already, clean up any plant debris from last summer or fall. Don’t forget to add it to your compost pile or green bin!
3. Prevent weeds. You may expose bare soil as you clean up, which is an ideal time to prevent a weed infestation. Cool season weeds like annual rye are prevalent now, but as the days warm, you will see all the common summer weeds.
You can use a pre-emergent to prevent weeds, or if you prefer an organic method, mulching at least 2″ thick will reduce the number of weeds. Be sure not to apply pre-emergent if you plan on or have planted seeds you want to grow! Hand weeding and careful mulching is the only thing to do here until the new seedlings are established.
4. Pruning. You still have time if you have not pruned your fruit trees, shade trees, or any other dormant shrub! Don’t forget to get your last spraying on your fruit trees before the popcorn stage! Need more information on spraying fruit trees? See the previous post, here. Make sure not to prune anything that is frost tender, yet. No matter how tattered and dead it may look!
5. Plant! Yes, there are actually things you can plant and grow now. There is still time to plant Potatoes, Strawberries, Asparagus, Rhubarb, Cilantro, and Primrose for some quick color. It’s also time to select and plant bare root fruit trees and berries. Click here for the 2022 Bareroot Fruit Tree list.
6. Lawn maintenance. You can overseed existing lawns or sod or seed new lawns now. Doing this now reduces the competition with weeds, whereas waiting a couple of months, you will be fighting all the summer weeds while your new lawn tries to become established. Click here for tips on Cool Season Lawn Care.
So hopefully, this will give you something to do outside to enjoy the sunny afternoons we have been having. You can bet I’ll be puttering in the garden while the sun is out!