As much as I would love to say spring is here so I can put things on track for spring planting, I don’t dare.
It’s pretty hard to believe we still have two weeks of potential frost, seeing as how the weather folks are predicting a high of 80° today. My artichoke plant is going crazy!
I did break down a couple of weeks ago and planted some more cool season crops: beets, arugula, cabbage, chard, and spinach. And I couldn’t resist starting some basils, as well. I have them all on my pumpkin ladder, under a piece of row cover at night. The seedlings seem to be doing well, so far.
The almond tree is in full bloom and some of my bees seem to be enjoying the nectar and pollen, though not as many as I recall from last year. It may be early, because there are plenty of bees out and about, in and out of the hive all day. The nectarine and baby apricot trees started blooming this week, as well. It feels early, but when I look at my calendar entries from previous years, they are right on schedule.
If you’ve never used a garden calendar, you might want to give it a try. I enter budbreak, or first bloom, for all my fruit and nut trees. I also add recurring reminders for tasks like feeding, pruning, dormant and delayed-dormant sprays, and fruit thinning. It helps a lot.
I was a little worried about all the fruit and nut trees this year. This winter isn’t feeling nearly cold enough for most of them to get the chill hours they need to stimulate fruit production. [Being from Upstate New York, I can hear all of you in the Midwest and New England talking about blizzards and snow!] I decided to look up my local CIMIS station (California Irrigation Management Information System) and found that the numbers weren’t nearly as bad as I had thought. While there aren’t any stations here in San Jose, the Gilroy station numbers told me that we are actually well above normal for the number of chill hours accumulated this season. Yay science!
Speaking of blossoms, the California poppies gave me a super bloom last year that was truly exceptional. This year, the plants came in bigger and thicker than ever.
I got my first blossom as few days ago, but things are looking a little worse for the wear. I am seeing a lot of chlorosis on outer stems and some spots that look like fungal lesions. Since I was spraying fixed copper on the trees, roses, and the lawn anyway, to treat rust and scale insects mostly, I decided to give the poppies a squirt, too. Fingers crossed.
Kate Russell, writer, gardener, and so much more.