Seed Swaps are wonderful exchanges of local seeds, all for FREE, and offer the magic of trying a seed you would never have bought!
Get SEEDS! Start seeds indoors NOW! Get your summer garden layout in mind. Peruse seed catalogs and order up for your Spring planting ASAP! 🙂 Santa Barbara’s last frost (spring) date is January 22! This isn’t to say there might not be another frost after that…and plants won’t produce fruit until they have enough hours of sun, and for some, warmth. Know that you are taking your chances. But to guarantee your success, start another round of seeds in a month or so, both for backup and succession planting.
- Start peppers from seed now! They take more time than other plants.
- Tomato grafters, grow several of your rootstalks and scions to get sizes that match. Tomato grafting for three times the growth?! Don’t forget to get your Maxifort tomato rootstock seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and some Japanese grafting pins!
- Check out Seed Soaking/Presprouting Tips & Ideas!
If you just don’t have the seed bug, wait and get transplants and pop them right in the ground! No fuss, no muss.
What I’ve said before: 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 get out! 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/children’s safety. Bare root planting is strictly a January thing. February is too late.
Keep feeding plants still in production. Scratch back a little soil and add a bit of chicken manure, cover, water in. Or give them a light feeding of liquid fish/kelp mix. If you feed your peas at all, they gather their own Nitrogen from the air, give them just a tiny amount.
Soil building is the single-most important thing you can do for your garden.
- Compost is easy to make. Added to your soil, it increases water holding capacity, is nutritious, soil organisms flourish, your soil breathes!
- Your green manures may be starting to flower, or will this month. That’s the time to fell them and chop them into your soil. Let them decompose in place, let the soil structure come alive. Keep the soil damp – lay down a light covering straw or leaves. Not too thick. You want it to breathe. Pretend you are an animal and stir it up once in awhile. Throw a few stinky handfuls of that chicken manure over it (I use a cup I keep in the bag). Add some of your vermicomposting worms! Let that land rest, restore, and be super tasty for spring planting! Or, put in a few more early days to maturity winter plants. They will mature in March/April. Perfectly in time for summer planting! If you have areas where your winter plants are finished and you don’t want to plant more ’til spring, start a green manure patch there! You can take it down in March/April for April/May heat lovers plantings!
Sit back, design your Summer Garden! And, DON’T MISS the Jan 25 and 26 6th Annual Santa Barbara Community Seed Swap or any seed swaps in your area! If there isn’t one, consider starting one! Yes! Before you go, review Seeds Rock! Choosing the Perfect Ones for You! Enjoy!