Fig putting out its new leaves and first "bebra" crop on last-year's wood that will ripen in early June. Main fruit crop will appear on this year's new wood and ripen in July/August according to its specific variety.
Chasmanthe "Duckittii", yellow chasmanthe, wonderfully bright color during normally gloomy February
Chasmanthe floribunda, orange chasmanthe, like the yellow one, creates clumps of bulbs over several years' time.
Hardenbergia's delicate purple pea-like blossoms are intensified by their teeny lime-green centers. I accidentally discovered that leaving the bush unpruned after early July results in this wonderful waterfall of color now in February.
Single and double paperwhites.
Salvia blooming all year long, although less now.
Bees love rosemary.
This year, with its lack of frost in the lower elevations, has enabled multiple seedings and transplantings since Fall, and this weather promises to continue for at least a couple of weeks.
Even though assorted critters have munched their way through many of my sprouts and seedlings, many more thankfully have survived so I still have more than enough to find niches to plant them.
One bed I’ll leave alone was supposed to be intermixed bok choy, chard, cilantro, kale, lettuce and parsley. It is those, but many of last year’s breadseed poppies from a nearby area sprouted amongst the edibles, and I love them too much to pull them up or try to transplant them (their long taproots don’t like being moved, as I’ve learned in the past). Of course, when I harvested the pods last year and scattered the seeds where I wanted them to come up this year, they didn’t sprout. Sometimes you just have to adjust yourself to where the seeds want to sprout and thrive!
In another bed, where I’d replanted purchased broccoli starts and just now removed their soda-pop greenhouse protection, they seem to be doing well, without any munchers enjoying them (yet). Sometimes just trying again and again is finally successful – and still less expensive than purchasing from a grocery store, especially when - like broccoli - the potential eating season is so very long. Perseverence!
I’ve tried seeding a couple of new kinds of greens, and they’ve come up nicely and haven’t been munched, so I hope at least a couple of them will thrive so I can enjoy eating them! It’s always nice to add something new to the garden each time around!
Transplanting My First Tomatoes
I transplanted my first tomato plants – a Sungold Cherry – a month ago, as soon as I saw a healthy one at an Ace Hardware store. I know that the Sungold – as an "indeterminate" type - will continue growing and bearing fruit for the entire summer, so getting this really early start will hopefully give me tomatoes extra early as well.
I transplanted a second tomato plant – a Celebrity – 2 weeks ago, and a third – another Celebrity – just yesterday. The Celebrity plants – since they’re "determinate" types – will grow only so much and then bear all of their fruit within a couple of weeks. By staggering plantings of these, I hope to have a continuous supply with one bush starting to bear at about the time a previously-planted one has finished bearing. I’ll continue this pattern of planting another Celebrity plant every 2 or 3 weeks through perhaps April or May. After that, the heat will have probably settled in and precluded planting more plants that will actually thrive because it’s just too hot for the plants to establish themselves, develop nicely, and then bear fruit. I've tried to keep planting in the past, but the plants just didn't do well and I just don't want to spend the money for the water needed to keep them struggling!
I’m currently eating from a Sungold volunteer that sprouted among my boysenberry plants just down the slope from where the Sungold was planted last year. It's a bit tart, but definitely with real tomato flavor, as opposed to those things from the grocery store.
Don’t Transplant Any Other Summer Crops!
Tomatoes are the only warm-weather-loving summer crop that can tolerate our still-chilly weather now and get nicely established and begin growing.
Other warm-season crops will literally glare at you in angry agony that you've forced them to deal with both cold soil and cold air all night long, and they’ll never really thrive once the weather and the soil warms because they've been so stressed out now.
Best to wait at least another month or two to purchase transplants and get them into the soil, and then they’ll take off in appreciation that their roots and foliage are warmer!
Finish heavy pruning of dormant trees and shrubs that will bloom in summer and fall, and also roses, grapes, and vine berries.
For beginning gardeners, doing this pruning when you see the first green buds is fine because you can actually see where the growth is coming from and consequently where to cut.
However, even if you can’t get to doing this pruning within a week or two, be sure to trim extra long branches within the month to help limit the tree’s or shrub’s potential gangliness and possible breaking of those branches when they’re full of fruit later this spring.
Pull Those Weeds Now!
Get rid of the weeds now while they're small and before they form flowers or seeds, and you'll have fewer weed problems later.
Watering the area to be weeded the day before the job will soften the soil and ease the removal of the weeds' entire root systems, preventing resprouting.
A handy tool to use to pry up entire root systems is the pronged "asparagus fork" that looks like a slightly bent stick.
If you pull out a weed that has already formed its seedhead, do not leave it in a walkway as mulch or compost it, since the weed will continue to mature and possibly scatter its seed before it finally dies. This kind of recycling you really don’t want!
More Gardening Tips
For more timely gardening tips, see February.