Early Spring Garden To-Dos

Interpreting the calendar according to local garden conditions adds a fifth season beyond the usual four: early spring, the months of February and March.  Early spring in western Oregon is a highly variable season – we could be dry enough to need to irrigate; wet enough to be flooding; sunny and warm; or slogging through snow – but it is a season with its own unique tasks, and a season of opportunities that disappear right around the beginning of “official” spring in late March.

Early Spring in the Garden

–  Plant peas as early as possible, even start as early as late January. Pre-sprout seed inside for better results.

– Onion “bunches” only available now.  Bunches give you a head start on onion development, just as if you seeded them yourself last summer.

–  Transplant hardy spring crops: leaf crops, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and more.

–  Start your own transplants inside; peppers take about 10-11 weeks to be transplant ready, tomatoes about 6-7 weeks.

Early Spring in the Orchard

–  Prune fruit trees, berries, and grapes

–  Last chance to dormant spray fruit trees – spray with copper to control fungal and bacterial diseases, or with spray oil to control mites and aphids.  Stop spraying when flower buds begin to show color.

–  First feeding for blueberries and cane berries in March.

–  Bare root planting time February and early March: best fruit and berry value and selection of the year, and easy transplanting.

Early Spring in the Lawn and Landscape

      Lime and fertilize lawn; using organic or other slow release fertilizers will limit the how much mowing you need to do in the wetter part of spring.

–  Plant lawn from seed or sod, starting mid March.

–  Weed control or prevention, before they get the upper hand.  Herbicides containing glyphosate, and for broadleaf weeds in lawns products containing carfentrazone, are effective in low temperatures.  Hand weeding is an effective option, and pre-emergent herbicides such as trifluralin (Treflan, Preen) or Dimension can stop seed from germinating.  Bark or compost mulches are also useful for weed control.

–  Prune shrubs that bloom heavily from new growth, such as roses or spiraea, now.  Do not prune spring blooing shrubs like camellias, rhododendrons, or forsythia, until they have finished blooming.