by Charlene Burgi
There are a few fruit trees left that need winter pruning. The blossoms on the almond and plum trees are gentle reminders that I am running out of time to get this chore done.
The warm 70-degree weather this past week encouraged daffodils to bloom and reminded me that spring is on its way. The weather teased the winter vegetables to double their size and hasten their fruit to develop. The week gave time to plant the bare root asparagus, berries and strawberries. But alas, it is a false spring and will soon disappear into winter again.
But wait: Before the next rain, the irrigation system needs a tune up. Earwigs and other creepy crawlies find their way into the orifices of nozzles, drip emitters and anything else that gives them protection. It’s time to remove the end caps and flush the drip systems, turn on each station and make certain the nozzles are covering the intended area, review the program in the controller to make sure it is not set for peak summer watering . . . ah, not to worry—that is one of the benefits of a smart irrigation controller. However, I can check the electrical connection and make sure nothing was severed during the winter lull.
If it starts raining before you can get to your irrigation system, all is not lost. Tomato seeds can be started this month along with other vegetable seeds. For an easy, inexpensive way to get your seeds started, use a commercial seed starter mix and fill planter trays. Place seeds in each cell and cover with a thin layer of the starter mix. Gently water so you are not washing away the seeds and soil. Keep the seeds covered with clear plastic wrap and place in a sunny window until you see the seeds poke their heads out of the soil. Remove the wrap and place the seedlings in an area that will get strong indirect sunlight. You risk frying your plants if you leave the wrap on after germination or keep the seedlings exposed to direct sunlight.