Since I got the 2010 edition of Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening: Month by Month a couple of years ago, I’ve been thinking that I need to get some sort of system in place so that I can begin to memorize which garden and yard chores need to be done each month. Todd discovered this fabulous guide in the $5 pile at a little bookstore in Monterey, California, back when we headed up north to visit our soon-to-be-married daughter and her fiance in 2011. It was such a find that I feel almost like it’s a sin not to use it faithfully, being that we got it for so cheap. I’d never seen a guide specifically for SoCal before, so I feel blessed to have the information on my shelf and in my hands.
This book covers vegetable and flower gardening, as well as fruit trees and brambles, which is fabulous since we have them all. I don’t have need of doing everything in the monthly lists, but many of the items are things that I should be doing, and ought not to be forgetting. For this reason, I have decided to keep a monthly list of items that I can follow, and that you can follow along with if you’d like. All you need to do to see what I’m doing each month is to find this button in my sidebar, and simply click on it. You will land on my to-do list for the month, as well as my progress. This is how I will keep myself accountable each month, so please feel free to scold me if my list looks undone!
Before I get started with my February list (argh! have I really already missed January??), I would like to thank you so much for being on this gardening journey with me. If you are following along, please leave a comment and let me know so we can track together! Doing things with friends is so much more fun, don’t you think? Ok—the list.
February Garden Plans
Pat’s list for February is much more extensive than mine will be, simply because I don’t have the lush, fabulous garden that she does. If I could have a quarter of that type of lushness, I’d be so very happy. Here’s the list that I’ll be doing, which will get my hard on its way to fabulousness! If you are interested in seeing the full list, you can purchase the latest version of her book here (NOTE: This is the Kindle version, as it was all that was available on Amazon in the latest version at the time of posting. If you are interested in a hard copy of the book, make sure to check periodically, as sometimes book get reprinted and become available again.)
Plant calendula and pansies(these are supposed to be transplants, but I will start them outdoors from seed and see if that works out) spring vegetables indoors.On deck for spring are the following: cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, tomato, eggplant Plant more winter veggies.I’m planning on getting outdoors very soon to plant kale, cabbage, lettuce, and carrots.
- Nothing this month.
Feed deciduous fruit trees.We have nectarine, pear, santa rosa plum, and two apple trees to care for this year. We lost our almond and possibly our cherry tree to gophers. To feed the surviving trees, I’ll put fish bone meal and blood meal covered with organic compost, then water deeply. Pat warns against feeding well established trees with too much nitrogen-rich material, which is why I’m will be using compost on my large apple tree, and medium-sized pear tree. All of the other trees are quite young yet and won’t probably bear fruit this early, but I’ll go ahead and treat them the same, since I’ve got an abundance of organic compost at the ready. Fertilize roses.I really must actually move my roses first, so I’ll need to research if I can do both at the same time, or if I need to give my transplanted roses time to get over the shock of being moved, then fertilize a few weeks later. I’m guessing the latter, so in order to get my roses fertilized this month, I’ll need to act fast to get them transplanted. Fertilize banana tree.Really, I’m supposed to be spreading fertilizer over the roots of my banana tree, but since it’s still potted (and quite sad, I might add), I’ll be putting fertilizer over the top of the dirt and watering it well. I hope this helps it thrive better. Spread manure over the roots of geraniums.I’ll be using some rabbit/chicken manure and watering deeply on my geraniums. Water roses.That’s the plan when I do the fertilizing. We focus on watering this month because this is the time of year when roses are forming new shoots, leaves, flower buds, and canes. I’d really better get on these roses! Keep bulbs well watered.At this point, I’ve got one pot of Amaryllis bulbs that I’ll need to keep well watered for this month. Easy peasy—I’ll put them on a daily watering system.
- Control pests on citrus trees. This month, I’ll be checking for snails in the crotches of the branches and pick off any that I find. If I do find some, I’ll need to add a barrier around the tree trunk to prevent the snails from getting back into the tree. At this point, I’ll also trim any leaves and branchs that are touching the ground for further protection.
Control pests on roses.First, I’ll be inspecting for pests. According to Pat, it’s almost impossible to grow beautiful roses without using some sort of sprays. If I do find pests, I’ll spray with environmentally-friendly choices such as Summit Year-Round Spray Oil or the Cornell Fungicide Formula (if I can find them). The spraying will have to happen more toward the end of the month, once the roses are established well in their new pots. Hand weed flowers and vegetables. This one is pretty much a no-brainer. I’ll be weeding between my garlic this month, which I did last month as well because garlic doesn’t compete well when sharing a bed with weeds. Oddly, I am getting mushrooms this year in my garlic bed, and I’m not sure why since it’s largely been dry and warm this past winter.
- Harvest winter vegetables. For now, I have very few that is coming to fruition at this time except lettuce, so for now, it’s only a matter of thinning them.
Replant herb seeds.I planted a whole bunch of herbs a few months ago which sprouted nicely, but when I moved them out into the greenhouse, they were very slow growing. I’m sure I put them outside too early and they weren’t strong enough to withstand the different climate out there. I’m going to try again this month since we are getting closer to spring. I want to have some new herbs to plant in the herb garden when the weather is warmer! Fill up garden #4 with compost.Due to my lack of ability to get the compost bins opened up, I have had my two compost bins full for the past year with no attention at all given to them. I need to get at least one of the compost bins opened and all the compost transferred to a nearby garden before I plant my kale and cabbage in it. Once that’s done, it’s plant, plant, plant!
I ended up planting zinnias and dandelion, amongst many other herbs into the herb garden. Apparently I had neither calendula or pansy seeds in my seed stash. Thankfully my calendula reseeds itself every year!
I planted a flat of veggies including: Black from Tula heirloom tomatoes, Black Beauty eggplant, Cal Wonder Red Bell Pepper, Tomatillo Verde, basil, coriander, and oregano. In another flat I planted Golden Bantam Sweet Corn, Black Beauty Zucchini, and Smart Pickling Cucumber. Still, I did one more flat of various medicinal herbs.
Got this done. I planted staggered rows of cabbage and kale (alternating the two in each row so the kale could be staggered). I also planted a half row of turnips, a half row of beets, and two rows of various carrots, including Danvers Half Long and Nantes.
TRIM, PRUNE, MOW, DIVIDE
I fed my trees with my homemade compost and a bit of aged chicken and rabbit manure. The reason I went this route is because it appears that a mouse (or mice) got into my bone and blood meal and ate it all! All that was left in the bag was mouse droppings. Yuck!
Done. I dug up my two rose bushes–one of which is probably dead–soaked their roots for a few minutes, and planted them in some very wet peat moss so that they can continue to soak for a while before the soil dries. I added some rose fertilizer to the planters (in the dirt), and ran a drip system hose to both plants. Hopefully one, if not both, survive and begin to thrive.
Done—banana tree now covered with fertilizer.
Done. I added some aged rabbit manure around the geranium plant and watered well to break down the super dry manure a bit so that the nutrients can get into the soil a bit.
This is finished, but not because they don’t need to be watered often, but because I transplanted my two bushes and put them on a drip system.
This is finished too. I brought container of planted bulbs into the greenhouse and put them on a drip system as well.
CONTROL PESTS, DISEASES, AND WEEDS
No pests on the roses, so this wasn’t needed.
Done. There really wasn’t much to do, and the warmer it got, the fewer the mushrooms so it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I weeded plenty of grasses out and even some mint (that stuff is so prolific!), and now winter garden #1 is looking quite nice.
ALSO THIS MONTH
Done! I planted oregano, coriander, basil, yarrow, dandelion, cumin, tarragon, sage, and many others in seed starter flats and in the ground, which I’m covering with my mini hoop house. So glad to have this done!
Todd and I worked together to get one of the compost bins opened up and all the compost moved into the garden that was to be planted with more winter veggies. It was a success and didn’t take all that long all in all. The next bin will be done before spring planting and dumped into the garden that has been idle for the past 5 months due to its being treated for nematodes.
I think that’s it for now. If you are inclined to, bookmark this blog post and check back every now and then to see how I’m doing. You have my permission to kick me in the rear if it looks like nothing is getting done! And of course, if you’d like to track with me, leave me the link to your blog post and we can encourage each other throughout February!
Time to get myself outdoors and get some of this stuff done! But first, here’s a post from my current lettuce and carrot garden. What do you think?
What are your February gardening plans?
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