This is your last chance to plant more rounds of winter veggies you love the most, and the littles that grow year round. Peas are especially heat sensitive, but we Coastie pea lovers can get one more round! At this time be sure they are mildew resistant varieties! But it’s really time to think in terms of those summer treats you love too! Space is an issue now unless you have fields! Those of us in 10’ X 20’ Community Garden plots need to reserve space and prepare those soils. I plant some of the smaller border plants, like lettuces, where they will be on the sunny side, then add the bigger plants that need more heat behind them in March.
Plant LETTUCE, beets, brocs, cabbages, cauliflower, celery, chard, kale, kohlrabi, potatoes, radish, spinach, turnips. Asparagus and artichoke bare-root. Or put in asparagus from seed in March.
Clean things up. Prune your trees, remove dead wood in your herbs. Divide clumps of Society garlic. On ground that needs more humus, lay down some bagged steer or well aged horse manure, let the rains wash the nutrients down, in about 2 months dig it in.
Continue with your harvesting, sidedress your producing plants, do your snail prevention. After rains, foliar apply another batch of aspirin – stimulates growth, boosts the immune system, and baking soda and powdered milk to boost their immune system and act as a germicides. Don’t forget to add a dash of liquid soap to make the mix stick! Hold off on watering for a few days to let the potion do its job. Your plants will thrive!
Select your plants Mindfully! This takes more than a quick trip to the Nursery and buying whatever they have on hand. But, hey, if that’s all the time you have, then go for it! If you have the time, do some quick online comparisons at Universities that specialize in Mediterranean climates. Check out this year’s All America Selections! Ask at your local nursery why the varieties they have are their choices.
- What pests or diseases did your plants have last year? Select for resistance or tolerance.
- Is that plant heat tolerant, bolt resistant?
- What is the disease or pest cycle? Can you plant at another time, just a few weeks later to avoid them?!
- Is it a long producing pole plant, or a heavy one-time bush producer?
- How much space will that amazing plant take up versus it’s return?
- Is that variety better for canning or table eating?
- Do you want a hybrid, or will you be seed saving and need an heirloom that plants true year to year? In a community garden, with all kinds of plants close together, few true seeds can be saved.
Start Your Seedlings! If you have a greenhouse, and it can be a very small humble enclosure, even a row cover setup, start your seedlings now to plant mid to late March! At home? Easy! Use flats, peat pots, six packs, punctured-for-drainage plastic containers reused from your kitchen. Sterilized potting soil holds moisture and is easy for tiny roots to penetrate. Put them in your greenhouse or with grow lights 7 to 10 inches above, on 14 to 16 hours a day. Put a plant heating pad underneath, a heat cable, or a moisture protected 15/20 watt bulb in a ‘trouble light,’ for warmth, 70 degrees F. For better germination, spray aspirin on your seeds before planting! Another great trick is seed soaking and presprouting!
When they are ready, let them sit outdoors in the daytime shade for a week, then in the sun for a week, then all day the 3rd week. That process is called hardening off. The beauty of seeds is you can get the very best plants, and varieties your nursery doesn’t carry!