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Garden Checklist: Plants get a jump start on spring

Feed strawberry plants now for a good crop.
Feed strawberry plants now for a good crop. Bigstock

Did recent warm weather confuse your plants? The calendar may say winter, but your garden is thinking spring. Need proof? Just look at early blooming trees such as Bradford and other ornamental pears, which are flowering in abundance.

It’s time to fertilize and prepare plants for rapid growth. Due to recent temperatures flirting with the 70s, many plants and trees may already be way ahead of schedule. Make sure to water deeply before adding fertilizer to your landscape, then feed, feed, feed! Your plants are hungry!

▪ Feed fruit trees before flowers open, if possible. Use a a fertilizer specifically labeled for fruit trees. Fertilize other mature trees and shrubs as spring growth appears.

▪  Feed strawberries and asparagus, two perennials from the vegetable garden that will soon hit high gear.

▪ Feed spring-blooming flowers and established perennials.

▪  Check for aphids on new growth. Knock them off with a strong spray of water or a squirt of insecticidal soap.

▪  Look out for snails and slugs. Hand-pick them off plants an hour after nightfall.

▪  Plant seed for beets, Swiss chard, collards, endive, fennel, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, peas, radicchio, radish and turnips.

▪  Transplant seedlings for broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce and leeks.

▪  Indoors, start tomatoes, eggplant and peppers from seed. They’ll be ready to transplant outdoors when weather warms in late April or May.

▪  In the flower garden, plant seed for baby’s breath, calendula, California poppy, cornflower, forget-me-not, larkspur, nasturtium, nicotiana and snapdragon.