Vegetables that need a long growing season and lots of sun can be started indoors from seed this month. Giving them a head start should give you a longer harvest after planting them outdoors. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and melons can be started in small pots or trays with potting soil. Make sure to provide good lighting once they germinate.
Bare Root Planting
This is still a good time to plant fruit trees and other plants from bare root. In addition to fruit trees, consider roses, grapevines, asparagus, and horseradish. Make sure the root ball doesn’t dry out, and soak it in water for at least an hour before planting. Dig a hole slightly less than the depth of the root ball (to allow for settling of the soil) and two to three times as wide.
Asparagus plants, typically sold with bare roots, should live for many years, but it’s important to get them started properly. They grow best in well-amended soil; dig a trench close to a foot deep, place the roots – also called crowns – eighteen inches apart in the trench, and cover with soil. As the plants start to grow, gradually fill in the trench with soil. For long-term production, it’s best to wait two years for the first harvest, then cut the stalks with a knife at ground level.
You may notice your house plants leaning towards the windows. A good way to keep the growth uniform is to rotate them a quarter turn every time you water. And don’t water so much that you’re seeing lots of yellow leaves and gnats.
Camellias do well in the shadier spots of your garden, and thrive in loose acidic soil. Now is a good time to choose plants from the nursery because you can see the true colors and shapes of the blossoms. If any flowers start to turn brown and mushy, remove and discard them immediately to stop the spread of petal blight. Pruning to control growth and form a bushier plant can be done after flowering has finished.
Oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins, kumquats, and other citrus trees are producing like crazy right now! Pick fruit from the sunny side of the tree first. Wait until it is fully ripe, it won’t continue to ripen after being picked and the only way to make it sweeter at that point is to add sugar.