by Charlene Burgi
Gardeners living in the Bay Area are among the privileged few in this world who enjoy working the land in a Mediterranean climate. Only nine regions in the world share our climate, and there is no other area in North America with this benefit.
Consider a few of the advantages:
- We can garden year around;
- The soil doesn’t freeze and thaw;
- Home-grown vegetables and herbs are always available;
- Our plant selections are unlimited.
Considering we can work in the garden all year and our plant selection is unlimited, this time of year also brings another advantage: It is bare root season. We can now stock up on edibles such as deciduous fruit trees, asparagus, artichokes, blue- and cane-type berries, rhubarb, grapes and strawberries for a huge reduction in the cost of buying them in containers. Additionally, many shade trees are also available that can protect your home from hot summer suns, thus reducing your energy bill.
Bare root plants are unique as there isn’t any soil around the roots when you buy them. Planting requires a bit more thought before placing them in the ground. Set the roots in a bucket of freshly made diluted compost tea and allow the roots to absorb the liquid for a few hours before planting. The same rule of thumb applies to planting a bare root or a container plant: It is better to put a $5.00 plant in a $10.00 hole than a $10.00 plant in a $5.00 hole. In other words, don’t skimp on compost and soil amendments. Mix the site soil with the amendments and create a small mound in the center of the hole where you are placing the bare root plant. When you set the plant in the hole, carefully spread the roots around the mound of prepared soil and backfill. Water well.
Speaking of water, don’t neglect this important step: Before digging the holes, consider the future irrigation needs of the plants. Choose locations where their water needs will be compatible with the plants around them. Do you have an existing drip system watering other fruit trees in the area? And is there enough water pressure to add more emitters without compromising the amount of water the irrigation system can deliver? If you are adding a new zone to water a new area in your yard, do you have an irrigation controller with an open station to wire in to the new valve? If you have questions, call a landscape professional who specializes in irrigation. You will put your plants at an advantage come summer.
Hold These Dates!
Our Bay-Friendly workshop series kicks off next month. Mark your calendar now and join us for one or more of these fun, FREE, hands-on workshops:
February 26: Bay-Friendly Gardening Basics
March 12: Gardening from the Ground Up
March 26: Creating Year-Round Edible Gardens
April 9: Gardening to Manage Pests Naturally
April 23: Go Native – Planting for Pollinators
All the workshops will run 9:00 a.m. to noon. Click here to register.