Where did the time go? Once again, spring is already making its debut here in Southern California. With the new year comes new garden goals and aspirations, some seeming more plausible than others. If you’ve not managed to fulfill your garden maintenance goals from previous years, January is the month to put this into priority mode. Taking action earlier means reaping incredible results by the end of the year, and if you don’t start now you may end up in the same scenario next year. Nothing happens just by looking at your garden, making occasional complaints, and wishing things could look differently. If the task seems too daunting to tackle by yourself, then it’s time to ask for help. Design and planning, construction, and gardening can be an overwhelming task to the inexperienced. However, for those who are daring enough to give it a shot, I suggest the following tips:
- Prune your fruit trees and roses in December or January, but no later than mid-February.
- Remember to spray your roses and fruit trees in January with a good dormant spray. However, if your fruit trees have started to bloom, you’ve waited too long and spraying will now kill the blossoms.
- Fertilize fruit trees and citrus in Jan. Use high nitrogen and micro nutrients.
- Fertilize your roses with good rose food. (Never fertilize when soil is bone dry. Water deep the day before and water in well after spreading fertilizer. This goes for all plants.)
A wonderful little paperback by R. Sanford Martin titled, How to Prune Fruit Trees has been my Bible for 38 years and I highly recommend it for beginning gardeners. It was first published in 1944, although mine is an autographed 1975 edition. It’s a small book with good pictures, and fits in your back pocket so that you can take it into the garden with you.
Also, make a list of your gardening chores. List everything that you need to do and hope to accomplish by May. This way, you can enjoy your beautiful garden from summer through fall.
It’s helpful to keep two lists, one for goals and another for regular to-do’s. As you continually refer to your lists, your chores will eventually become a great escape from the stressful week and before you know it, you would have accomplished all or most of your goals.