February 2013

News Archive

Betty Nostrand, Editor
Ann Rivenes, Publisher

Co-President's Letter

  1. We hope you'll come to spend Valentine's Day
    • with us at our next meeting. The owners of the Lucky Garden store
    • in Dublin will join us to talk about Hydroponic Gardening.
  2. One of our members has been growing vegetables year round using a hydroponic tower. I'm anxious to learn more.

Plans to start ramping up for our annual April Plant Sale have begun! The Edible Gardening group has started seeds of our favorites and new varieties to test out. Later in the month the Herb group will propagate herbs. As we wrap up the rose pruning it's time to start a few plants to donate to our fundraiser. Plastic pots are available at the meetings but as I try to reuse as much as possible I see possibilities of mini greenhouses in the roast chicken and lettuce containers from Costco, seed starter packs in egg cartons, nearly 4" pots from my mushrooms. Being a creative gardener makes good stewards of our earth.

Would you believe we have already reached the halfway mark in our LAVGC year! If you have friends who have visited us and have thought about joining, remember that as of January 31st membership dues are one half regular dues. Membership is required for participation in club functions due to our insurance requirements.

Come and be our Valentine! See you soon, Tina Higashi

February Follies........in the garden

...as I write this it is just gloriously warm outside finally and I have to be inside doing this! But I've worked about as long as I dare today and not be immobile tomorrow, so I guess this is fine.

...lots of cleaning up and pruning to be done. Most of the trees are bare so no more leaves for this year. Remember when you are cleaning up a bed be sure to go top (any vertical or tall plants) to bottom and back to front so you are only cleaning the area once and not re-cleaning as you go. The weeds evidently did not really mind the cold and are getting a good head start on spring so be sure to get them while they are tiny and before they set seeds. It is a good time to cut back perennials before they start new growth so you can just whack them off and not have to work around the new growth. So tedious! Learn your plants because some love to be cut to the ground and others (like lavender) really sulk if you do that.

...have you finished pruning your roses? If not, hop to it. Roses are very forgiving so however you do it they'll probably come back just fine this spring. After a few years they would be a bit worse for wear if you never pruned them but for a year if you just can't get to it, don't worry about it. After you prune them, in a week or so you will notice the growth buds coming out. If any are facing the wrong way - like towards the center of the plant, or out onto a walkway - just "finger prune" them by rubbing the nubs off to keep their energy and growth going in the way you want it. You may also notice aphids munching and they are easily wiped off or sprayed off with water.

...it's a good time to prune shrubs and hedges too, especially for shape and size. The basic tenets of taking out dead wood and pruning into a sort of bowl shape apply to pretty much any plant. If you are growing something up a wall or near a walkway, prune off all stems that face out. Be brutal so you won't have to mess with that particular stem in the future as it is always going to be a problem - growing onto the walkway or out and not flat against the wall or trellis. As you prune stems back, cut to an outward facing nub and not one facing in so you encourage the plant to form a bowl shape to let air and light in to the center. Again, if growth starts in a way you don't want it, "finger prune" it early on so it keeps a good shape.

...starting in mid-Feb. is a good time to prune fuchsias and abutilon plants. Fuchsias are ones that love to be cut way back. They bloom on new growth so you want to encourage lots of new growth and not leave the old. When they do start to grow, be sure to pinch out the growth between two leaves so it forces more stems to grow and you'll get a bushier plant and more blooms. Delays blooming a bit but is rewarding in the end.

...our last "Frost" date is supposed to be in mid March so wait until the at least the end of this month or early March to prune tender-ish plants like geraniums, lantana, and hibiscus. That way if we do have a late frost it won't zap the new growth. If you have plants that got blackened or mushed up in the Jan. cold, wait until we're sure the cold weather is really gone before you cut that off since new growth is pretty tender.

Livermore Valley Garden Club (LAVGC) serving the Tri-Valley: Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, Sunol, and San Ramon