Copyright © 1997-2009 Demand Media. All rights reserved.
Posted: Jan/18/2008 9:57 PM PST
I visited mastergardeners.org which led me to "Garden tips for Los Angeles County" (other Cali. County info. available).
Thought people from Cali might want to know about the sites and people from Los Angeles (are there any? ) would want to read the following I copied from
"January Gardening Tips for Los Angeles County Residents"
by Yvonne Savio
The garden is almost at a standstill this month. It's cold, wet, and dormant. We depend on every leaf of lettuce and spinach, every broccoli florette, every kohlrabi and cabbage, every Brussels sprout. We're either glad we'd planted so much in the late summer and fall or regretting that we didn't. We eagerly anticipate the first asparagus spears and the first pods of the overwintering peas.
Aside from transplanting, most outside gardening activity is limited to pruning and spreading soil amendments. Too much digging is not a good idea, since the soil still retains a good deal of water: disturbing it too much will compact it and destroy its tilth.
Some seeds will sprout outdoors, given a little time, including chard, kale, leeks, bibb and iceberg lettuces, mustards, green and bulb onions, flat-leaf parsley, peas, radishes, and savoy spinaches.
Plant garlic cloves, bulb onion sets, and shallots where they will be able to dry out for a month before harvest next summer. When digging to plant these, move the soil as little as possible: remove a full scoopful with a small hand trowel, place the clove/set/bulb in, and gently crumble the soil back on top. Sprinkle just to settle the soil around it.
Indoors, sow more of these and broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, chamomile, caraway, cauliflower, chervil, chives, coriander (cilantro), dill, fennel, lettuces, marjoram, mint, oregano, curly-leafed parsley, sage, spinaches, tarragon, and thyme.
Toward the end of the month, start peppers and tomatoes indoors as a promise to yourself that the sunny, clear-skied warmth of summer truly will come.
After the seeds germinate, move the con-tainers to a cooler area with as much direct sun as possible for sturdy seed-ling development. Too much warmth and too little light will result in spind-ly growth that will not produce well outdoors.
You can help seeds germinate--and early seedlings grow--outdoors by covering the seed or seedling beds or trays with clear plas-tic sheeting after watering them in. Although the plastic doesn't alleviate very much of the chill from cold nights, it does help the soil absorb daytime warmth, and it lessens evaporation. This provides the seeds with a more comfortable environment in which to sprout and develop.
When the seedlings are one inch tall, remove the plastic during the warmer daylight hours to begin acclimating them to the coolness, but recover them at night. After a week or two, remove it com-plete-ly.
Provide further protection of the seedlings with mini-greenhouses made from clear plastic milk or water jugs with their caps removed and their bottoms cut off. Place the jugs over the seedlings after the bed or tray has been watered well. Press the jugs about one-half inch deep into the soil to prevent the entry of pests such as cutworms at the soil level and to lessen the chance of the jug being blown away during windy gusts.
Remove the jugs when the foliage begins to crowd the jug, or when night temperatures are above 50 degrees.
Transplant artichoke and asparagus crowns and rhubarb rhizomes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, chard, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, green and bulb onions, flat-leaf parsley, radishes, and savoy spinach. Plant cole crops up to the first set of leaves to prevent their maturing into weak, leggy, less-productive plants.
When transplanting, be careful to not compact the soil, now that it's thoroughly cold and moist. Dig and replace the soil gently, and barely water in the transplant--just enough to settle the roots. Do not stomp it with your hand or foot. Tamping the soil more than lightly will damage the soil tilth by compression.
Asparagus will grow and produce satisfactorily in partially-shaded areas such as next to a fence or a building, especially if the plants receive morning sun.
Choose a new area rather than replanting an old asparagus bed with new roots. In an old bed, residues from the old plants will retard the growth of the new young ones, and the old bed may have accumulated fungal pathogens.
Dig a lot of compost and manure into the soil, and set roots at least six inches deep and a foot apart. Cover them with a fluffy mix of soil, manure, or other organic mulch, and water in well.
To established beds, apply manure to the depth of an inch or two to slowly feed the plant as rain and over-head irriga-tion wash the nutrients down into the root zone.
Set artichoke roots with buds or shoots just above the soil line, spaced six inches apart. Water them in. When new growth emerges, deeply soak the area once a week.
Rhubarb prefers partial shade. Plant the single bud of its rhizome at the soil line. The wide spread of its mature leaves requires four feet between plants. Water deeply once new growth begins. Restrain yourself from harvesting until the plant's second season, to enable the plant to gain strength. When you do harvest, pull off no more than one-third the number of stalks at any one time, to not stress the plant by leaving too little foliage to continue growing.
Plant grapes, berry vines, and strawber-ries from now through March. Tips from last year's berry canes should be well-rooted. Cut off the vine above the third node from the rooted tip. Use a slant cut at the top and a straight cut at the bottom so you'll know which end is which when you transplant it.
Use strawberry runners to renew your patch or start a new one. Strawberry plants that are more than three years old have passed their prime and are best replaced. Avoid locating strawberries where eggplants, peppers, potatoes, or tomatoes were growing within the last three years, as they have similar disease problems. Dig in lots of manure and compost before transplanting strawberries right at the soil level--so roots are buried but leaf bases are not.
Plant bareroot fruit and nut trees (except for citrus and avocados) through early March. Buy trees that have well-developed fibrous root systems, a single well-shaped leader, and no serious bark injury. Avoid trees with circling or tangled roots. Branches should be smaller than the trunk and growing from it at angles more horizontal than 45 degrees.
Lot more info. for January & other months @ the site. Don't forget to delete any spaces in link.
Posted: Jan/30/2008 12:02 AM PST
Ugh! i thought last frost was around Feb 12 (average).
For February. Hope the info helps some of you. Check out your city in Cali.
More from: www.mastergardeners.org
February Gardening Tips for Los Angeles County Residents
by Yvonne Savio
February in Southern California means starting a new garden. La Niña seems to be making it clear and warm, almost Spring before its time. Although frosts are possible, they're not probable, since the average last frost date for us is January 28. If nothing else, check out mailorder catalogs and garden store seed racks and plants to help you decide what to grow this year. And, since it hasn't rained a lot lately, spend your time outdoors digging in lots of compost and manure so plant roots will love their new home and produce lots for your visual and gustatory pleasure!
Successful gardens result from both planning ahead and paying attention throughout the growing season until harvest. The amount of time and effort you know you'll be able to give to your garden this year should determine how extensive it will be.
It's very hard to resist planting a lot, especially when the seeds are so small and the tiny plants are so cute. After a long, dreary winter, all of us are eager to overplant, only to be swamped with tomatoes and overwhelmed with zucchini. Limit yourself to the amount of space and number of plants you'll be able to take care of well when they're mature. Then you'll be pleased with your successes rather than disappointed with your attempts.
Also, try something new, if just for novelty. You'll automatically include the veggies and posies you know your family will enjoy, but adding something new will give you a new adventure. Who knows--you might even discover a new favorite.
Some varieties are widely adaptable to various growing areas--like the All America selections--but others are not. Purchase those that are known to do well in your immediate area. Even then, a particular vegetable or flower variety may produce well for you but not for a friend a few miles away or across town, and vice versa.
Gardening can be either frustratingly uncertain or an exciting challenge. Each gardener gardens differently, according to his or her own needs and desires. Soils differ in proportions of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter. Weather seems to never be consistent from year to year. There's always something new on the market to try as the perfect vegetable or flower or tool or technique. The great fun is in discovering and making the perfect garden happen. The great payoffs are in eating the delicious veggies, admiring the beautiful blooms, smelling the wonderful fragrances, and marveling at the plentiful harvest from those few tiny seeds and plants.
Vegetables and Fruits
Tender, sweet broccoli is dependable from late Fall through early summer. Hot weather makes it more spicy-tasting. Photo by Yvonne Savio, © UC Regents, 2000
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, white potatoes, radishes, shallots, spinaches, and turnips. Indoors, start eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes as a promise to yourself that warm times are truly coming.
Place potatoes in a four-inch-deep trench dug well with compost, and cover the cut-and-calloused pieces or small whole tubers with more compost to the original soil level. Water lightly, just to settle the soil close to the seed pieces. Too much will rot them.
When choosing carrot varieties, consider the heaviness of your soil--sow short stubby carrots in heavy clay soils, and longer tapered ones in looser sandy soil. Tips of the tap roots will grow four to six inches further down than the edible portion.
Distributing small seeds evenly when sowing can be tricky. A lead pencil provides two approaches. For smaller seeds, moisten the lead-end, stick it into the seed to pick up one or two, and move them to the rooting medium. For slightly larger seeds, use the wet eraser-end. A length of wet string also helps for thick sowing--dip it into the seeds and place it on the rooting medium, string and all. The seeds will sprout around the seed, and it will rot away.
Damping off of seedlings can be cured by watering several times with chamomile tea. Steep one tablespoon of dried chamomile in six cups of boiling water. Cool to lukewarm or cool before using.
Transplant artichoke and asparagus crowns and rhubarb rhizomes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, horseradish, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, and spinach. If the soil is still waterlogged, gently dig the hole, position the plant, and gently gather the soil around the plant's roots. Water just enough to resettle the soil around the roots. This will result in the least compaction of the soil.
One technique to assure sturdy tomato plants from seeds started indoors uses quart-size plastic food storage bags. Folding the bags into square boxes allows several bags to fit together as a group in a square drip tray. Also, each plant's root system is concentrated in blocks that are easy to transplant into the garden. To prepare each bag, fold the bottom two corners under to meet, point to point, and tape them in place. Clip the four new corners for drainage.
Transplant each two-inch tall seedling into its own bag. Fold down the top of each bag to just above the soil level of the plant. Pack each together in the drip tray, and place the tray in a bright but cool area. As the plants grow, add more soil every few days up to the growing tip, pulling up the sides of the bag as necessary. Water and feed as usual. Turn the whole tray every day or so so that the plants grow straight. The resulting transplants often have half-inch thick stems.
For deep planting into the garden, cut open the bottom of the bag, and set the plant and its entire root system into a hole deep enough to bury the plant up to its top set of leaves. Slip the bag up and out of the hole over the plant. Fill in the hole with soil.
For horizontal planting, also cut open the bottom of the bag, but turn the plant on its side and gently urge it out so it's laying down in a three- inch-deep trench long enough to accommodate the root section and half of the plant stem. Gently bend the plant's growing tip up above the soil surface, and fill in the hole around the plant and up to these top leaves.
Water in the plant with a half-strength solution of a balanced complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10. "Balanced" means all the N-P-K numbers are the same. "Complete" means that there is at least some of each N, P, and K; none of the numbers is a zero, such as 0-10-10.
In both planting techniques, roots will form along the length of the buried stem. The deep-planting method is generally chosen by gardeners in areas with warm springs and summers and those who have loose soils in raised beds. The horizontal planting method is more useful for gardens with cooler springs and summers and soils that are heavy.
This is the last month to plant bareroot fruit and nut trees, berries, grapes, and vines. It's the best time to plant strawberries, so they can grow well before the weather warms and they put out blossoms.
Feed established deciduous fruit trees about three weeks before you expect them to bloom.
To prevent sunburn damage--which invites borers and other critters--paint exposed trunks and large limbs with off-white matte interior latex paint mixed half and half with water.
EDIT: IT has rained tons in our area! Just stopped today. More at site:
Location: SE Pennsylvania zone 6b
Posted: Jan/30/2008 8:04 AM PST
Thanks, Rashell. Even though I'm in a totally different zone, these articles are interesting and have some good info even for those of us who are in the frigid northeast.
Posted: Jan/30/2008 12:29 PM PST
Your welcome. I know most states have master gardeners. only I haven't found one website with all their links. I looked yesterday but couldn't find any. If I do find something I'll post the link here. If someone else knows of the site please post it. thanks.
Hey...maybe GG? I'll look now.
Edit: nope non at GG, only links to forums leading to any mention of "master gardeners".
Posted: Jan/30/2008 12:41 PM PST
Hope this helps, Rashell.
Posted: Jan/30/2008 12:51 PM PST
Rashell, I just googled ( master gardeners by states) and there is a site that lists them by states. Looks like a lot in Cal. I hope this helps.
Posted: Jan/30/2008 1:24 PM PST
This one John? Hope the link works. If not I found it by typing in my browser what you did bugnut "master gardeners by states". Thanks! : )
Posted: Jan/30/2008 1:36 PM PST
Location: Tennessee Sock Country
Posted: Jan/30/2008 7:24 PM PST
Posted: Feb/01/2008 7:17 PM PST
No wonder I thought the February article is kind of weird. It was written year 2000!