Tofino gardening in February 2007
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
The start of the gardening season never comes easy on the coast, just as you'd like to think that the worst of the winter weather is over bam! You know we are going to have something coming at us, the earliest and hardiest of plants are already making a showing, despite the weather, almost if to say, " Come on is that all you got?" During the worst of the January rains the Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) were out in full bloom, and the Camellia Sasanqua is still putting on a show.
Many new blossoms are happening now, with the primulas (primroses) being at the top of the, I'm in your face with bright and cheery color, I always recommend getting new ones each year for the front entrance, and then after they are done transplant them to a part of the garden that receives shade in the latter part of summer and they should rebloom again, but be wary, these are also a target for slugs, and as I suggested last fall, prevention is what you want to start getting ready for, and bait for slugs starting now, and then there will not be a many to lay eggs, because although the big slugs can reek havoc in the garden, they are large enough to be seen and disposed of, it's the small ones that are ravenous, and harder to control. The woodsy Lenten Rose (hellebores) will also be making a show, and the every popular snow crocus, snowdrops, and heather. Most bulbs now should be popping out of the ground, with just their tips showing, and again watch out for slugs, they will eat all that fresh growth when possible, watch out for the Jays as well, they seem to have no problem pulling up the crocus bulbs and eating them, and digging up other bulbs as well. I have had to resort to putting chicken wire over parts of my garden and pots to protect the bulbs.
With February also comes time for a few minor maintenance jobs, of course that is after all the clean up from this winter. For picea, if you notice some die back, there can be a nice green bug (the name eludes me today) to deal with, the easiest way to tell is by taking a sheet of paper and shaking the tree, if you have bugs, then spray with an insecticidal soap every two weeks until about mid June. If we manage to get about 5 days of dry weather in February, then it's time to do some spraying with a dormant oil spray, this is good for Fruit trees, roses (not rugosas though) and others that get hit by pesky bugs. The lawns could use a shot of lime at this point, as well as the first fertilization with a moss control, these will both help to get the lawn growing, but do not apply them at the same time, about ten days apart should suffice. And hopefully both our organic lawn fertilizer and weed control will be in stock soon. Seeds start to make an appearance soon as well, time to get some of the classics, and also you may want to stock up on things like lettuce seeds, etc. You know with all the bad weather the us has had, and many veggies are easy enough to grow at home in pots and planters, why not.
The start of spring is also the time to transplant your indoor plants into larger pots, be careful though, not all plants need to be done every year, or at all, some really do hate it. Also come on in and check out the Amaryllis's that are just starting to come into bloom, just in time for Valentine's Day.
Happy Spring and Happy Valentine's
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino at 619 Tibbs Place Road.