See our article on the pruning chores that begin this month. Grapes and cane fruits like raspberry should also be pruned now. If you are an uncertain pruner, check for classes in nursery centers or those given by Master Gardeners (see below). Before you start cutting, sharpen your shears or buy a new set. Pruning with dull blades can damage the remaining plant stem, and open it to disease. Put a little motor oil on metal workings, to keep them moving smoothly after their long winter rest.
Kitchen and orchard
Fertilize any vegetables that have grown over the winter. Repeat next month. Use a high nitrogen fertilizer to enhance leafy growth. Whatever the weather, arugula, fava bean, garden cress, onion, mustard and turnip greens, peas, radishes and spinach can all be planted by seed this month. We live in a variable climate. Use the longest time to germination noted on the seed packet, and if your plants fail to come up, plant again. If you want to grow your own starts indoors, plant broccoli and cauliflower, and lettuce and winter storage onions this month.
While you're planting starts, include these flowers: dianthus, English daisies, marigolds, calendula and columbine. The nurseries are filling up with spring plants. Go early for the best selection: clematis, rhododendron, azaleas, bare-root roses and camellias are available now and can be planted. Make sure to harden off plants that were kept in greenhouses and be careful not to overwork wet garden soil.
Jackson County Master Gardeners offer grapevine pruning. Sat., Feb.7 and fruit tree pruning, Sat., Feb 21. Classes are held from 9-noon at 569 Hanley Road, Central Point for a $5 fee. Call 776-7371. This month at North Mountain Nature Center includes classes in xeriscaping, flood control and even sketching in the garden. For class information or to tour their gardens, call 488.6606 or register online at http://ashlandparks.recware.com
February garden calendar