February: In the Garden

February 14, 2011

It’s mid-winter and here’s what you can be doing in the garden right now!

– Plan your spring garden: Reflect on last season’s annual planting locations to plan your crop rotations for the coming spring. What varieties did best last year and which varieties do you want to try this year?
– Order seeds: winter is the time to browse seed catalogs and place orders. Non-GMO and organic seeds can be obtained from the Sierra Seed Co-Op, Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and Fedco Seeds.
– Protect soil: Keep your beds covered with a straw mulch or planted to a cover crop to prevent topsoil erosion.
– Bring in fertility: If you don’t have animals (chickens, sheep, goats, cattle, horses) haul in manure from local ranches and stables to start compost piles with. Many stables will provide you with all the free manure you want so long as you can load it and haul it away in your own truck.
– Sheet mulch: Eliminate wasteful spring mowing chores by sheet mulching pathways and other areas with sheets of cardboard topped with a 3″ layer of straw. Earthworms love it and during the summer the mulch will retain soil moisture.
– Plant bare-root fruit trees and shrubs: Select late varieties to avoid spring frost damage to emergent buds and/or choose dwarf rootstock varieties that can easily be covered with frost protection blankets during frosts.
– Prune fruit trees: Eliminate crossing/dead/sick branches, train scaffolding for light and air, and encourage strong branches for fruit support. Spray budding branches with compost tea to encourage beneficial microbial growth that will outcompete disease organisms.
– Watch the water flow: During rain storms, observe water flows and begin designing ways to eliminate erosion and store/capture this water to put it to better use in the landscape.

That’s it for this edition. Stay tuned for more tips as spring approaches!

~ Paul

Categories: ideas.

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