Monthly Garden Calendar for Southwest United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By John Dromgoole

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FEBRUARY

If you have transplants up and growing in the garden and a freeze is coming, the garden will be more cold tolerant if it has been watered before the freeze. Old blankets, cardboard boxes, cold frames, floating row covers and upside-down pots will all help with those late frosts and freezes that can plague us this month while we try for an early start.

Planting Preparations. Early in the month, plant spinach, peas, cabbage (try Chinese cabbage), broccoli and broccoli raab, collards, onions, celery, chives, and radishes directly in the garden.

Plant Potatoes! These are our favorites: 'Kennebec' (white), red 'La Soda,' 'Pontiac' (red) and 'Yukon Gold' (yellow). Plant turnips and rutabagas directly into the garden, too.

Seed Starting. Start tomato, eggplant and pepper seeds indoors under lights. Start seeds of celosia, coleus, hibiscus, cleome, salvias, marigolds, petunias and rudbekias.

Traveling Transplants. Asparagus and horseradish transplants are still available through the mail or at your favorite organic nursery.

Weed Warrior. Use corn gluten meal to help control weeds before they germinate. Bear in mind that it will also stop vegetable, flower, herb and grass seeds from germinating as well, so don't use corn gluten where you have just or are about to sow seeds.

Plant Your Fruit Trees. Do it now so that the roots can establish themselves before hot weather sets in. If you already have peach, nectarine or plum trees, treat them with (organic) lime-sulfur spray to control peach leaf curl.

Divide Your Perennials. Divide fall-blooming perennials in the spring (and spring-blooming perennials in fall).

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