- Have frost cloth ready in case of a predicted freeze for frost sensitive plants. Use frost cloth or old sheets (we double our layers and keep our fingers crossed!) to cover tomatoes and peppers. If possible, cover all the way to the ground to keep warmth in. Wait until the later part of February to trim any affected frost damage.Winter vegetables will usually survive the frosts. Watch your local weather reports. The last frost date is usually March 15th.
- Citrus trees begin to ripen, be ready to harvest sweet, juicy, lemons, oranges and grapefruit.
- Continue to sow or transplant cool weather vegetables. Root crops, lettuces and members of the cabbage family can be planted until early spring. Favorite salad ingredients can continue to produce until the temperatures heat up in late spring.
- Examine your crops for pests, look under leaves and around the base of the plant for looper-worms, especially on your cole crops. Hand pick if possible. If the little green caterpillars get out of hand, most nurseries recommend B.T. as an organic control. If birds are a problem, place netting over garden area.
- Local nurseries will begin to stock bare-root plants (roses and fruit trees) at the end of December. Plan and prepare a nice sunny location for planting next month. Pre-dig your hole and add a little mulch, compost and gypsum or sand. Fill the hole with water to soften the soil in preparation for the new tree roots. Research your southwest desert varieties. Choose varieties that require no more than 250 chilling hours.
- If you like tomatoes and peppers, try some heirloom varieties from seed this year. Plant seeds to produce your own transplants for spring planting. Sow seeds indoors around the end of the month. Choose varieties that will do well in our desert climate. (nativeseeds.org). Transplants should be ready to plant outside from mid-Feb to mid-March.
- Feed vegetables a good, well balanced fertilizer every couple of weeks. Don't over fertilize herbs if they look healthy and green.
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