Monthly Garden Checklist
This is the “PLANNING” month for Spring planting in addition to sowing additional greens, carrots, beet seeds, and onion transplants.
Many over-wintering vegetables started in the fall garden are ready for harvest now.
• Cut cabbages when they are rock-hard; if they feel soft or springy, they aren’t ready for harvest.
• When broccoli buds are full and firm, cut the stalk with a knife. If the heads are turning yellow or loosening up, it past harvest time.
• Leave both cabbage and broccoli in the ground and they’ll continue to produce smaller heads, especially with the benefit of a side-dressing of vegetable fertilizer.
• Cauliflower only forms one head. To keep it snowy white, pull the leaves up over the head and tie them to block out the sun. Harvest when the buds are full and close together. When they begin to separate, you’ve waited too long.
• Lettuce is ready for harvest. You can cut the whole plant, or cut just the outside leaves, leaving the core to continue growing. The “cut and come again” harvest will keep you in fresh salad greens for weeks.
• Check and clean your hand tools. Remove any rust; oil or lubricate; use linseed oil on wooden handles; repair or replace broken tools. See video on cleaning shears.
Inventory your tools and replace any that you need now, to avoid a last-minute run to the store during planting time.Doing these things now, to prepare for the January garden, will allow you more time later in the spring.
Begin laying out your Spring garden plans on paper. Inventory what seeds you have and order what you need or check with the Greenhouse and Outreach Committees. See what they have in mind for seed-starting.
Monitor the winter forecast and prepare accordingly your irrigation timer and your watering times. At this time of year watering once per day or every other day for 5-6 minutes is sufficient. Make sure your timer is wrapped and ready for the cold weather. Timers will break if left unprotected in the elements.