Although the winter has been mild this year, there’s nothing like spring (which officially begins March 20), to kick off the planting season.
Keep Weeds in Check: Just about everything grows in spring-including weeds. You might already see weeds starting to invade your garden, especially after a rain. To avoid the drudgery of plucking weeds from your yard throughout spring and summer, take the time now to remove weeds while they are still small. Once removed, cover the weed-free area with a two-to-three-inch layer of mulch. Mulch is a natural weed suppressant. No chemicals needed.
Prepare Garden Soil: After winter, soil often needs to be revitalized with the proper nutritional mix. Add soil amendments based on the soil type. There are products available to loosen heavy clay soil so that water can more easily reach a plant’s root system. Other products give sandy soil structure to reduce erosion.
Spruce Up Your Lawn: Your lawn may have been damaged by winter frost and have become naturally compacted. Revitalize your lawn by first lightly raking the lawn to remove fallen leaves, Then, aerate (aerators are available for purchase or rent at most garden centers) to loosen the soil and allow water and air to reach deep. Finally, add a lawn top dressing containing nutrients that will work their way into the grass root system.
Add Summer Flowers: Spring is when gardens come alive with color. Plants with vibrant flowers include alstoemeria, armeria, bearded iris, columbine, geraniums, nicotiana and veronica. Other varieties include agapanthus, coreopsis, daylily, penstemon, Shasta daisies, tulbaghia and yarrow. Don’t forget California wildflowers-just sprinkle their seeds throughout your flower garden.
Plant Vegetables And Herbs: After the last chance of frost (around mid-month) and the soil warms, head to the nursery to pick up vegetable plants or seeds. About every type of vegetable does well if planted during early spring. They include tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, onion, potatoes, spinach, turnips and corn. Plant herbs from seed such as basil, mint, oregano, parsley and rosemary.
Give Citrus Trees a Boost of Nitrogen: Consider having your soil around avocado and citrus trees analyzed at your local nursery to see if it is deficient in nutrients.Typically, these trees need a boost of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous in spring so the plants are healthy and ready to bear fruit. Now is also a good time of the year to plant avocado and citrus trees-giving them plenty of time to establish themselves before cooler winter weather.
Leave Frost Damage Alone: It may be tempting to remove leaves damaged by winter frost. Keep the leaves on the trees and let nature take over. As the weather warms, the trees will shed dead leaves naturally and new growth will emerge.