For The Answer
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
This is the month to plant cool weather crops for
harvest in late spring. Consider
spinach, broccoli, cabbage, onion, and chard transplants. Turnips, rutabagas, carrots, beets, radishes
and English peas can be planted by seed.
Potatoes can also be planted.
Plant all of the cool weather vegetables early in the month.
Fertilize the broccoli, onions, Brussels sprouts, spinach
still producing from this fall and the new plantings with one cup of slow
release lawn fertilizer per eight feet of row. Control cabbage loopers on the
cabbage and broccoli with a Bt or Spinosad product.
It is too early to plant tomatoes in the garden, but you
can plant transplants in one gallon containers filled with potting soil and
enriched with Osmocote. Put the
containers in a sunny sheltered location so they can grow at a maximum rate and
be ready to go to the garden after March 15.
Move the potted up tomatoes to the greenhouse or in the house if the
forecast calls for temperatures under 40° F.
Potted up tomatoes set fruit right after they are planted and are the
source of the “first” tomatoes you read about in the paper in April or early
February is a good month to fertilize shrubs, shade
trees, and fruit trees. Apply one cup of
slow release lawn fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter spread over the drip
line. It is too early to fertilize the
Area nurseries have received their new selection of roses
and fruit trees. Fruit trees are not the
easiest of plants to grow in our area.
Select the varieties that can prosper with our warm winters. Visit www.plantanswers.com
for the recommended varieties. If your
soil is heavy fruit trees and roses should be planted in raised beds. An eight by eight foot bed formed with used
railroad ties works well for one peach, plum, apple or pear tree.
Prune fruit trees, roses, and shrubs this month. Do not prune for the sake of pruning. Refer to last weeks’s article on pruning or
visit www.plantanswers.com for
guidance on pruning.
The paperwhites, daffodils and tulips will bloom in
February and early March. Paperwhites
and some daffodils will naturalize if the foliage is left in place until it
browns after the plants finish blooming.
Snapdragons, petunias, dianthus, calendulas, and other
cool weather flowers get their second wind in February. They often will bloom into May if the spring
is cool. Geraniums cal also be quite
spectacular. Look for the Fantasia series;
the Strawberry Sizzle and Violet have been especially successful. Both will live and even bloom through the
The hot weather grasses such as