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Dig into garden chores on (dry) winter days

Cabbage and other leafy cold-weather vegetables can be transplanted now.
Cabbage and other leafy cold-weather vegetables can be transplanted now. Bee File Photo

Just because many plants may be dormant, don’t be a dormant gardener. There’s plenty to do in the winter garden.

Recent rain has kept our soil nice and pliable; that makes it easier to dig. Make the most of dry days while tackling some winter chores:

▪ Remove old flowers from camellias and azaleas to avoid petal blight.

▪ Finish pruning roses. Try to get them done by the end of February. Once spring weather starts to warm the soil, new growth will sprout fast. Roses pruned now will bloom in late March or April.

▪  If needed, apply a final dormant spray to deciduous fruit trees before the flower buds swell. This is particularly important with peach and nectarine trees that need copper spray to fight leaf curl.

▪ Remove aphids from blooming bulbs with a strong blast of water or insecticidal soap.

▪ Divide and replant daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

▪ Transplant or direct-seed snapdragon, candytuft, lily of the valley, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisy, and stocks.

▪ In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichokes, strawberries and rhubarb. Transplant seedlings of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and kale. Direct-seed radishes, beets, peas and chard.

▪ Start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed indoors. They’ll be ready to transplant outdoors in late April or May.

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