Or wear your awesome Sloggers! With boots like these from Sloggers Garden Outfitters, No Problem! Regrettably, their selection for men lags. Oops, did I say that?! No matter, buy some for your Sweetie! Valentine’s Day is coming….
This is bare root time – plants without soil on their roots! For us SoCal gardeners that’s cane berry bushes, deciduous fruit trees, strawberries, artichokes, asparagus, short day onions. Think twice about horseradish. It’s invasive as all getout! If you do it, confine it to a raised bed or an area where it will run out of water. Rhubarb, though totally tasty in several combinations, ie strawberry/rhubarb pie, has poisonous leaves! That means to dogs, small children and unknowing people. Either fence it off, or don’t grow it. I don’t recommend it in community gardens because we can’t assure people’s safety. Bare root planting is strictly a January thing. February is too late.
SoCal’s Lettuce Month! They germinate quicker at cooler temps! Grow special ones you can’t get at the store, or even the Farmers’ Market! They like a soil mix of well aged compost, organic veggie fertilizers, chicken manure. Lay your seeds in, barely, and I do mean barely, cover them, 1/8 inch, pat them in. Water gently with a watering can, or use the mist setting on your sprayer. Keep the bed moist. That might mean watering even twice daily! If it is going to rain heavily, cover the bed so the seeds don’t wash away. Slug and snail cocktails (Sluggo) make sense or your seedlings may vanish. If your seeds just don’t germinate, be sure your seed is fresh. Feed the bed once a week. Fast growth keeps it sweet; slow growth is bitter! Eat the younglings you thin from the patch, or transplant them. Pluck those larger lower leaves for robust winter salads! Plant another patch in 2 weeks to a month to keep a steady supply!
As you harvest your winter veggies, keep planting, from seeds or transplants. Transplants will speed things up by a good 6 weeks if you can find them. Your winter veggies are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, parsley, peas, chard. Seeds of beets, carrots, lettuce, peas, radish, turnips, do well. Pop in some short-day onions.
Remember, harvest your cabbages by cutting them off close to the bottom of the head, leaving the bottom leaves. New smaller cabbages will grow from those axils at the stem/leaf junctions. You might get as many as four babies! Do the same with lettuces! Once you harvest your main broccoli head, let the side shoots form mini broccolettes! The further down the stalk you cut, the fewer but fatter your side branches. Pat Welsh, Southern California Organic Gardening, recommends the variety Bonanza.
The SideDress Dance continues – if you harvest, you fertilize. That’s a good rule of thumb. Sprinkle some fertilizer or drizzle your favorite liquid mix, especially before a rain. Dig it in lightly, but not in a circle. You don’t want to break all the tiny rootlets that spread out at the surface from your plant. So do it on a couple sides max. Dig it in a bit so the N (Nitrogen) doesn’t just float away into the air…. Use half strength of summer feedings to avoid a lot of tender growth a frost would take.
Start seedlings of peppers! They are notoriously slow growers, so to get them in the ground in March, start now! Ask your Latino friends; they are experts! When you see them planting, you do the same. While you are at it, ask them if they happen to have any spare jicama seeds! Fresh-from-the garden jicama is like nothing you have ever tasted!
If you tossed wildflower seeds, keep their beds moist.
Start a garden journal, especially enter your genius thoughts! Domestic harmony? Clean up your shed/working space, or build one. Build a greenhouse! Plan your spring garden, order seeds. Order fall seeds now too so they won’t be sold out later on. Build your raised beds – that’s with frames if you want frames, and start building your soil.
Great Rain Tips! Please click here! Mulch keeps your plants from getting mud splattered.
Frost Watch! Keep an eye on your weather predictions! If it starts getting down near 32 degrees, run for the covers! That’s your cheap sheets you got at the thrift shop, spare beach towels, old blankies, and cover your plants mid afternoon if possible! For things to know about cold weather plants, and more tips on how to save your plants, click here!
Do I see green leaves sticking out of the corner of your mouth?