February in Your Garden:
Cover and protect cold-tender plants until danger of frost in your area is over. Only after that, prune away frost damaged leaves and stems. Renew your garden’s mulch with Planter Mix and Mulch. A 3-inch layer insulates moisture in the soil, moderates soil temperature and keeps weed seeds from sprouting. Always keep mulch a few inches away from stems and trunks.
Continue to plant cool-season vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and other plants in the cabbage family. This is also the time to plant potatoes, carrots, radishes, turnips, spinach, chives, chard, collards and beets. Continue planting natives like California Lilac and Point Sal Sage, and other Mediterranean climate perennials, shrubs, trees and vines such as Wilson Olive and Blue Glow Agave. Mulch after planting. These plants need no fertilizer. Plant winter annuals like pansies, violas, primroses, snapdragons, stock and calendula to enjoy while the weather is still cool.
Plant japonica and reticulata camellias to brighten winter-weary landscapes. Aloes are also blooming now. These succulents send up spikes of blazing red, orange or gold flowers from January through April. Summer and fall blooming sages like Mexican Sage will benefit from being cut back. Wait until new basal growth at the base of the plant is 6 to 8 inches tall before removing dry bloom spikes and tattered stems. Citrus trees need regular fertilizing starting this month. Pick a fertilizer high in nitrogen; these trees don’t need high concentrations of potassium and phosphorus.
Monitor irrigation and adjust according to the weather. Increase watering during heat bursts such as Santa Anas and decrease during cooler days. Pay attention to container plants and Don’t allow soil to stay too wet, especially for cactus and succulents. Empty drainage dishes of standing water.
Cut back tropical and semi-tropical plants such as begonias, gingers and cannas to reinvigorate plants for new growth as days warm. Feed with Gro Power. Prune grapevines back to one or two side branches, and shorten each side branch to one or two “nodes,” (nodes look like joints but are actually scars from fallen leaves).
Feeding, Weeding, Spraying
Spray dormant deciduous trees and vines with a horticultural oil before buds begin to open in order to control overwintering insect pests. As the weather warms, watch for new growth on stone fruits, apples, pears, grapes and subtropical fruiting trees. Once you see new green, start fertilizing with a granular humus based fertilizer like Gro Power, according to label directions. Bait again for slugs and snails. Watch for weeds that start popping up as soil warms. Pull them out by the root before flowering to prevent them from seeding and becoming next year’s weeds.