Winter Gardening


Who says gardens can’t grow in winter? Depending on your region in California, we live in a wonderful climate that supports year-round vegetable gardens. Here’s some gardening tips to help with your winter gardening.

Plant Dormant Fruit And Rose Trees

Bare root fruit trees and roses may appear lifeless in winter but will grow heartily in spring and summer if planted now. Plant apricot, plum, apple, pear and peach trees, and all types of rose bushes. Add organic compost planting mix to the soil to increase soil aeration and to keep in moisture.

Plant California Native Vegetation

Winter is the ideal time to plant California native vegetation. Winter rains give them a healthy start. Plant such natives as iris, Manzanita, sycamore, yarrow and Matilija poppy.

Prune And Pinch

Prune deciduous trees and shrubs and pinch back dead portions of perennial and annual flowers to keep plants looking fit. For roses, prune no more than one-half of new growth from the previous growing season. Pruning and pinching encourages new growth that will produce fuller flowers and larger fruit.

Plant Winter Vegetables

For gardeners who can’t wait until spring to plant a vegetable garden, cool weather vegetables are ready to plant in January. They include artichokes, asparagus, beets broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, peas, potatoes spinach and strawberries. Herbs such as parsley, oregano and thyme can be planted now.

Tackle Weeds Now

Winter rain means winter weeds. Remove them with a hoe before they get too big and scatter seed. Don’t put them in compost piles, as you’ll spread weed seeds throughout your garden.

Pop in Color

Fill in garden bare spots with spring color plants already in bloom in four-inch or quart pots. Pansies will last until summer. Violas and primrose, snapdragons, calendulas and primroses provide good winter and spring blooms. Spring bulbs including gladiolus and dahlia can be planted now. They may start to grow early if the winter is mild. Don’t worry–growing bulbs can withstand cold and even freezing temperatures.

Begonia Beginnings

Start begonias from tubers by setting them in a flat filled with soil amendment. Leave the upper part of the tuber above soil and transplant when a few leaves appear.

Plant Tomatoes And Feed Fruit

In warmer inland areas plant tomatoes at the end of February. You can expect to see fruit by Memorial Day.

Upgrade Your Gardening Equipment

Gardening equipment upkeep is sometimes neglected during the prime growing months. Winter is a good time to clean and sharpen shears and replace belts and oil in trimmers and lawn mowers so your tools are ready to go for spring.

Make Sure Potted Plants Are Watered

Outdoor potted plants need water, even in winter. The winter sun can quickly dry out plants. Water less based on rain levels but keep soil moist. Indoor plants can also quickly dry out, especially if exposed to warm air from heaters or fireplaces.

Summer Bulbs

Time to pull out summer bulbs from the refrigerator and plant them. These bulbs include tulips, crocus, gladiolus, calla lily, caladium, amaryllis, daffodils and delphiniums. Some bulbs can be purchased and planted without the chilling process and should be in stock at nurseries. They include Dutch iris, lily, gladiolus and begonia.


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