Monthly Garden Calendar for Pacific Coast South United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Anita Noone

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FEBRUARY

The days are getting longer this month and rain should be expected. Watering won't be a chore if Mother Nature helps out. No need to irrigate if the temperatures are seasonable (the average high temperature at the coast is 65 degrees, 68 degrees inland) and it rains every 7 - 10 days. February is still a month of dormancy, but spring surely feels like it is upon us.

Radiant Roses. You can still successfully plant bare root roses. By mid-month, you should begin irrigating all of your roses, if there is no rain. Water and mulch deeply to get your roses off to a good start.

Thin Out Old Canes on Climbing Roses. Any sort of pruning can be a dangerous activity, but add thorns, and you really need to be careful. Take time to begin with eye-protection, gloves, substantial shoes, and long sleeves and pants; take time when you finish to mulch your roses.

Plant California Poppies. But before you do, make sure that rain is expected. Rake an area of bare soil, broadcast the seed, and hope for rain. The poppies are eye-popping in bloom, and can reseed from year to year.

Don't Fertilize Natives. Though most plants will be ready for fertilizer sometime this month, natives are the exception. Don't fertilize natives or other Mediterranean-climate plants, but keep planting them as long as the cool weather continues.

Cool Camellias. You've probably noticed camellias blooming over the last month or so. The red, white, and pink blossoms brighten up the winter months and do well in pots or in the ground. Unlike most plants, camellias are best transplanted when blooming, so now is a good time to plant one in a shady spot.

Evergreen Transplanting. Evergreens transplant well now, while the weather is still cool and the soil is damp from rain.

Lose the Legs. Cut back leggy fuchsias and begonias in the ground by one-half or more. Fuchsias and begonias in pots should be cut back so that there is only a few inches of stem. Feed lightly and see how bushy and beautiful your plants become.

Feed Citrus and Avocado. Make sure the soil around the tree trunk is bare to the root line. Allowing a lawn to grow up to the trunk of your ornamental citrus or underplanting with flowers may result in the equivalent of strangulation.

Veggie Delights. It's still too early for heat lovers such as tomatoes to be set out — even if you find them in nurseries. Look for beet, broccoli, dandelion (and most other leafy greens), cauliflower, onion, radish, and carrot.

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