Gardening Basics

Plan your garden this month: What plants are you going to move or divide? Where will the new bed go? What are your growing conditions? For vegetables, you'll need to plan your crop rotation. Put it down on paper and make a plant list. Buying early means choosing from the best stock in nurseries. Some popular seeds are snatched up early in the season.

Clean up the garden, fertilize and mulch. This is the month to prune roses, grape vines and fruit trees (see below for fruit tree and grape-pruning class offered by Jackson County Master Gardeners Association). Plants are starting their spring growth, so take down all of last years' stalks so you don't cut off growing tips along with dead material.

Kitchen and Orchard

Fertilize over-wintered vegetables now and again in March. A high-nitrogen fertilizer boosts vegetative growth for kale, chard, collard and cabbages.

Cool-weather vegetables to plant this month: arugula, mustard greens, turnip greens, peas, radishes and spinach.

Seed indoors for transplanting: brassicas such as broccoli and cauliflower, leeks and bulbing onions. Sterilize any pots you are going to reuse with a 1-to-10 ratio of bleach to water.

Make seed pots with newspaper and a glass. A great instructional video can be viewed online at eHow:

Ornamental Garden

Try seeding these flowers indoors to plant out as the weather warms: dianthus, English daisies, marigolds, calendula, anise hyssop and columbine. Sow in pots, flats or cell packs. Poppies should be sown in peat pots, as they do not like their roots to be disturbed.

Bare-root plants are arriving in nurseries. Make sure to harden off plants that were kept in greenhouses, and be careful not to overwork wet garden soil.

Cut blooming twigs to force indoors. Select stems with lots of buds: spirea, forsythia, plum and other fruit trees, redbud, hawthorn (watch out for thorns). Smash the stems and place in warm water. Change water every few days or use a floral preservative. May take up to six weeks to bloom, depending on plant.


Jackson County Master Gardeners Association offers two pruning classes this month. Both are held Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Oregon State University Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point. A $5 fee is charged. Call 541-776-7371 for information:

Feb.13: Grapevine pruning lesson by Quail Run Vineyards' Chris Hubert. Explains how to train and maintain plants for healthy grape production; 9 a.m. to noon. Feb. 20: Pruning and care of fruit trees, scheduled for 9 a.m., with professional orchardist Terry Helfrich. Great for newcomers and those who want to increase fruit production. Selection of trees and planting site, tree structure, planting requirements, spacing and tree training will be discussed.

The Master Gardeners plant clinic, at 569 Hanley Road, Central Point, is open for questions and insect identification on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. For additional information about Master Gardener programs, check online:

Garden Clubs

Ashland (541-488-5576)

Monday, Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m.: A florist's perspective on cutting gardens; Susan Zane

TALENT (541-535-2190)

Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m.: Rose pruning talk by George Jennings, aka "The Rose Doctor." Talent Branch Library, 101 Home St., Talent.


Tuesday, Feb. 9: Native plant expert Frank Callahan

JACKSONVILLE (541-899-4074)

Thursday, Feb. 18: Ergonomic tools and gadgets; Blue Door Garden Shop

MEDFORD (541-772-0544)

Friday, Feb. 19, 1 p.m.: Gardening problems in the Rogue Valley; Panel discussion