Are you hankering for summer veggies and flavors already?! Our SoCal weather is warmer than usual and holding, and we are past the coastal last average freeze date!!! Though the ground temp at Pilgrim Terrace Community Garden is 60 degrees, our night temps are not 50+ degrees yet, and we still have short day lengths. Keep track of those night temps. Once they get up, it is probably worth it to take a chance and jump the gun a bit. Many will be planting summer crops earlier this spring. Choose heat tolerant varieties. If our summer is hotter than usual, good chance of that, enjoy planting plants that need more heat than our coastal veggie gardens usually support. Heat and drought tolerant would be best. Get ready to plant favorites you have longed for, melons and eggplant!
1) Sidedressing! Take care of what you’ve got! Hard working plants need fuel and water. With higher temps than usual, watering needs a little more attention. As broccoli starts to head, give it a fish/kelp tonic! After the main head is cut, your side shoots will flourish!
2) Spring planting soil prep! Yes! As space clears from finishing winter plants, time to get composts in the ground, even if they aren’t quite finished. They can complete the process in the soil, mingle with the soil herds of microorganisms. Party time! Turn in any last green manures. Add a light amount of manures as appropriate – not for carrots. You actually apply less manures in spring because you want fruit production, not leaf, unless it is a plant grown for its leaves, like kale! Incorporate a small bit of potent worm castings to help with plant immunities to disease. Sprinkle with a tad of coffee grounds. Keep your prepped areas covered with soil feeding mulch, and water that area when you water your other veggies. Moist, not flooded, soil is rampant with life!
3) February Planting!
- Start seedlings indoors, in the greenhouse. If you didn’t start your peppers in January, don’t delay! Try California Wonder, Early Jalapeno, Sweet Banana, Super Chili! Start eggplants and tomatoes! Go for gorgeous Heirloom tomatoes if you have disease free soil. If your soil has wilts, choose wilt resistant varieties. Plant early, patio and determinate varieties for soonest production and if you have little space. If you have space, at the same time, plant indeterminates for all season production! They take a little longer to produce, but once they start, they keep right on going!
- From Seed, Sow beets, caraway, celery, carrots, chard, chervil, chives, collards, cilantro (coriander), dill, endive, fennel, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, mustards, green onions, bulb onion sets, flat-leafed parsley, peas – mildew resistant varieties, white potatoes, radishes, shallots, spinach, and turnips. With our temp changes, get bolt resistant/slow bolt varieties, and especially drought tolerant varieties.
- Transplant artichoke and asparagus crowns and rhubarb rhizomes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, horseradish, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, and spinach. It’s the best time to plant strawberries, so they can grow well before the weather warms and they put out blossoms. Few gardeners can keep themselves from planting cold soil tolerating quick maturing tomatoes as early as March, but this year’s February may be that March! Be mindful to ask your nursery for bolt resistant/slow bolt and drought tolerant varieties! Good luck!
See the entire February Newsletter!