Pluck off first tomato blossoms until the plant is two feet tall, indicating that it's developed an extensive root system. You want the plant to be sturdy before you "redirect" its energy into producing fruit. Then, it will be strong enough to produce many fruits over its full lifespan, whether determinate (producing for just several weeks then dying) or indeterminate (producing until frost or beyond).
Aside from wondering when or if we’ll get some more rain later this Spring, the weather has been blissful, with 70s in the daytime and high 40s during the nighttime. Seeds and transplants from winter like chard and parsley and cilantro and spinach are filling out enough to already harvest their outer leaves a couple of times. Some bok choy and tatsoi are even reacting to the daytime heat and beginning to bolt (going to seed) but still delightfully sweet, either as additions to raw salads or stir-fried for roll-ups or burritos, or added to soups. The first tomatoes I’ve been transplanting as I found my usual varieties at nurseries are a good foot tall and starting to blossom (which I’ll remove until the plants are two feet tall and therefore with better-established root systems).
For lesser-common tomato varieties, there are several upcoming Tomatomania dates and sites on my Garden Events page – see https://www.gardeninginla.net/submit-your-garden-events.html .
Note that each site has its own COVID procedures.
For more dates and sites as they’re scheduled, go to https://tomatomania.com/ .
Continue to sow seed and transplant the cool-season veggies, including beets, carrots, celery, chard, herbs, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, green onions, bulb onion seed and sets, parsley, peas, peanuts, potatoes, radishes, shallots, spinaches, strawberries, and turnips.
Transplant bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi and tatsoi seedlings. These should bear through Spring and into early Summer.
Plant summer-blooming bulbs, corms, and tubers -- including acidanthera, agapanthus, tuberous begonias, caladiums, calla lilies, canna lilies, dahlias, gladiolus, hemerocallis, tuberous iris, ixias, tigridias, tuberoses, and watsonias. Repeat plantings through May for continuous bloom through the summer.
Wait To Plant Warm-Season Lovers
Hold off for another month or so to transplant warm-season veggies other than tomatoes – like cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, and squash – until the soil (not air) temperature feels comfortable to hold the palm of your hand on.
Planting these warm-season lovers into cold soil now will just chill them, and they won’t really recover and thrive for longer than you should have waited.
A good cue when to proceed with planting these is when overnight temperatures are consistently in the upper 50s.
Pluck Off Strawberry Blossoms
If your established strawberry plants are producing blossoms, pluck them off through April or May -- whenever the warm weather has settled in for good. You want the plants to conserve their first real burst of fruiting energy into large sweet berries rather than small tart ones. Unless, of course, you're desperately wanting that very first berry, even if it is tart.
Last Fruit Tree Pruning and First Feeding
As fruit trees start blossoming and putting out their first leaves, make your last pruning cuts and first fertilization, scattering it out to a foot or more beyond the drip line. Then water it into the soil so it starts to “melt” downward and be available for the tree’s feeder roots in the top 12-18 inches of soil.
California Arbor Day = March 7
Arbor Day is celebrated in California on March 7 in honor of horticulturist Luther Burbank's birthday. (National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on the best tree-planting times in their areas.)
Burbank is famous for his work improving varieties of flowers (like Shasta Daisy), fruits (Santa Rosa Plum), grains, grasses, vegetables (Russet Burbank Potato), and trees.
See my 9/23/15 Blog on my visit to Burbank's home and garden in Santa Rosa.
More Gardening Tips
See March on my Monthly Tips page.