Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2006
Regional Report

Plant Spring Annuals From Seed

Begin planting spring-blooming annuals from seed indoors. Fill seed trays with fresh potting soil, and water well. Sow seed in rows on the surface of the soil. Cover with a light dusting of fresh soil, label with variety and date planted, then water lightly with a mister. Place seed trays in a warm, sunny location free from drafts. Cover seed trays with large plastic bags to hold humidity and warmth. Mist daily until germination, and open the bag periodically to allow for air circulation. Remove bag completely when plants seem hardy.

Force Bulbs Indoors

Fool mother nature into believing it's spring inside your house. Some of the types of spring hardy bulbs you can force into bloom indoors with a little encouragement include tulips, daffodils, crocuses, hyacinth, and narcissus. Plant bulbs in containers with fresh potting soil, water, then place in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator. When the bulbs have formed roots, place the pots in a cool room with bright light. Once foliage and buds form, move the pots out into living areas to enjoy.

Water Under Eaves

Shrubs or container plants that grow under overhanging eaves may need water this time of year. Rain water won't reach plants that are protected by overhangs. Connect your hose to the faucet and make a tour around your home, watering as you go. Weak plants that are stressed by drought are susceptible to attacks from insect pests.

Top-Dress Perennials

Place a layer of well-rotted manure over dormant perennial plants to promote strong, healthy growth in spring. Ferns, perennial blooming plants, as well as asparagus and rhubarb will appreciate this nourishing soil treatment.

Prune Fruit Trees

Prune apples, pears, plums, and other deciduous fruit trees by first removing all dead, diseased, and injured wood. Fruiting wood is dark and gnarly, as opposed to watersprouts, which are light in color and grow straight up from the branches. Remove watersprouts and leave fruiting spurs. Remember to keep trees low so the fruit will be easy to pick.

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