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Gardening guide

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JANUARY

**Weather is cold and foggy, or rainy, but moisture and low temperatures are good for the garden. The fog protects citrus from winter frost. Cool temperatures give necessary chilling of deciduous fruit trees for summer production. Some watering may be required, depending on rainfall.

* Plant bare-root plants -- roses, deciduous fruit and nut trees and flowering ornamental shrubs. Buy and plant perennial fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, asparagus, blackberries and raspberries.

* January is the best month for moving shrubs or small trees from one location to another.

* Even with cold weather, you can plant vegetables from seed: beets, carrots, collards, endive, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard, parsley, peas, parsnips, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips. From transplants, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage.

* Finish winter pruning of deciduous fruit and nut trees. Clean up garden to prepare for spring planting. Spray dormant oil on scale-infested fruit trees. Apply pre-emergent herbicide to lawns and flower beds to prevent spring and early summer weed growth -- Super Bowl Sunday is ideal timing.

* Remember not to overwater in January, particularly not on ryegrass lawns, which can develop fungus. In most years, Bermuda grass needs no irrigation. Wet conditions favor growth of germinating crabgrass.

* Order seeds and plants from catalogs.

* The camellia bloom season continues through March. Choose blooming camellias at nurseries to plant.

FEBRUARY

* Less fog in February. Latest expected frost is Feb. 15. May still plant cool-season vegetables including lettuce, radishes and greens.

* Clean up garden to prepare for spring.

* Paint tree trunks of citrus and deciduous fruit trees with white latex paint to lessen sunburn risk.

* Continue planting bare-root roses, trees and flowering shrubs.

* Start planting summer bulbs, including dahlias, cannas, calla lilies, hostas and daylilies. Plant gladiolus in three-week intervals for extended bloom season. Keep fallen camellia flowers picked up to prevent petal blight. Fertilize cool season grasses.

* Early fruit trees should begin blooming, depending on weather. Consider post-bloom sprays for specific insect problems.

* Turn compost heaps to destroy green fruit beetle larvae.

* Plant seed potatoes. Start tomato transplants from seed indoors, under grow lights or at a sunny window. Tomatoes grown outdoors from seed will need protection with hot caps.

* Cool-season bedding flowers can still be planted for blossoms through June.

* Hoe winter weeds in flower beds.

* Watch for olive bloom. Treat trees with growth regulator during bloom to prevent fruit.

MARCH

* Still a chance of cold, windy weather that can knock over trees. Rain is possible.

* Fertilize Bermuda grass; read package label for application. Fertilize citrus around bloom time. Fertilize trees, shrubs and deciduous fruit.

* Many flowers can be successfully grown from seed. Start your marigolds and cosmos now; wait until hot weather to start zinnias and sunflowers.

* Wildflower seeds sown in fall should be blooming.

* Fertilize spring flower bulbs to improve next year's blooms.

* Start planting warm weather vegetables from seed: snap beans, corn, cucumbers, herbs, peppers, squash. Buy tomato seedlings at nurseries for transplant. Consider post-bloom sprays for specific insect problems on fruit trees. Watch for fire blight on pears.

* With moist conditions, expect snails and slugs. Control with baits placed under shrubs. Hand-picking is also good control.

* Hit escaped crabgrass with herbicide.

* Plan to increase irrigation as temperatures rise. Inspect your sprinkler system for broken heads or other maintenance.

* Aphids appear on tender new growth on roses and other plants; wash off with soapy water or treat with recommended insecticide.

* Plant perennial flowers that prefer partial shade in Bakersfield, including columbine, foxglove and coral bells.

* Time to plant blooming ground covers such as ice plant, African daisies, verbena, rosemary, thyme, creeping mint and ornamental grasses.

* Reset sprinkler timers for spring.

APRIL

* Weather can still be cool. Keep planting warm-season vegetables and flowers from seed and transplants.

* Renovate cool-season grasses if necessary. Control broadleaf weeds in turf. Check fruit trees for insects. Rainy weather may increase likelihood of tree diseases such as anthracnose in ash and sycamores.

* In rainy weather, watch for mildew and black spot on roses. Treat with fungicide registered for use on affected plants.

* Wait until flower bulb greenery turns brown before cutting down.

* Plant summer melons, including watermelon and cantaloupe. Although you may plant pumpkins this early, it's best to wait until June in order to harvest at Halloween.

* Time to plant okra and lima beans in addition to other summer vegetables.

* As overseeded Bermuda lawns green up, lower mower height to reduce ryegrass and encourage Bermuda growth.

* Begin deep-watering citrus. Overwatering will lessen the fruit production. Expect normal, natural fall of marble-sized fruit from citrus trees.

* Shade flowers to plant: coleus, impatiens, fibrous begonias.

* Thin excess fruit from deciduous trees.

* Extra weed control may be needed in open areas in wet years.

MAY

* Weather continues to warm. If you haven't planted your summer vegetable and flower garden, it is still not too late. Buy summer vegetable transplants or plant from seed. Vegetables from seed: beans, cantaloupe, corn, okra, cucumbers, peppers and squash. Still time to plant tomatoes from transplant.

* Plant hot-weather flowers: salvia, zinnias, marigolds, petunias, verbena and vinca.

* Treat for crawler stage scale in fruit trees and shrubs.

* Add layer of mulch to keep soil cool and prevent water loss in flower beds during summer months.

* Put netting on fruit trees to keep birds at bay.

JUNE

* Summer is truly coming with rising temperatures. Water needs will continue to increase in the garden. Reset sprinkler timer. Vegetables: Keep sowing beans, corn, peppers and zucchini.

* June is the best time to plant pumpkins for harvest at Halloween time.

* Look for tomato worms. Keep tomatoes evenly moist to prevent blossom end rot and other ailments. Fertilize according to vegetable fertilizer package.

* Plant herbs from seed or transplant.

* Thin excess fruit from deciduous trees.

JULY

* Serious hot weather sets in. Expect to use more water -- but use it wisely -- during the hottest summer months. Tall fescue lawns use an average of a quarter-inch of water per day; Bermuda uses less.

* Check soil to be sure trees have sufficient water. Check below soil surface for moisture. Use deep watering techniques for best health of lawns and fruit trees. Root rot is a problem if plants are overwatered.

* Vegetables: harvesting of earliest planted summer vegetables.

* Hot weather means spider mites on many plants. Treat by washing dusty leaves with strong spray of water.

* Green fruit beetles take flight and feed upon soft nuts. Harvest early to avoid beetles.

* Keep deciduous fruit trees well-watered to avoid borer infestation.

* Control russet mites on tomatoes with sulfur.

* Remove spent flowers from annuals and rose bushes.

* Pull tomato plants afflicted by spotted wilt.

* Expect to see silverleaf whitefly on wide range of garden and landscape plants as temperatures hang around 100. No effective treatment.

AUGUST

* Many vegetable gardens are in decline by late August. In high temperatures, tomatoes set less fruit.

* Get the jump on winter gardening by planting cruciferous vegetables -- cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower -- from seed.

* Harvest warm-season vegetables.

* Keep watering and fertilizing lawns, vegetables and flowers. Remove spent plants.

* Silverleaf whitefly continues to be a problem.

* Prune roses in late August for fall bloom.

* Apply pre-emergent herbicide on lawns that you do not plan to overseed with ryegrass and in the flower beds to prevent annual bluegrass from growing in fall and winter.

SEPTEMBER

* Weather remains hot and dry. Think water. Do vegetable garden clean-up. Add organic materials to vegetable garden soil for fall planting season.

* Renovate Bermuda grass lawns. Best time to seed fall fescue for lawns.

* Hot-weather flowers will continue for a few more weeks, but begin adding winter flowers as they become available in nurseries. Look for snapdragons, pansies, stock and Iceland poppies.

* Plant flowering sweet pea seeds for spring flowers. Plant edible snap peas from seed in vegetable gardens for harvest from February to April.

* If tomato and other plants are severely infested with silverleaf whitefly, pull plants and dispose of in plastic bags.

* Adjust irrigation schedule.

OCTOBER

* Weather cools by midmonth. Fall months are an excellent time to put in trees and shrubs to give them an opportunity to develop their root systems.

* Cool-season turf renovation. Ryegrass and red fescue overseeding.

* Plant cool-season flowers.

* Plant spring-blooming bulbs -- daffodils, crocus, narcissus, tulips, anenome and ranunculus.

* Scatter wildflower seeds.

**Plant cool-season vegetables from transplants. Onion and garlic sets arrive in nurseries with fall bulbs.

NOVEMBER

* Days are growing shorter and cooler; rain is expected. Cut back on sprinkling, but if the weather is still warm and dry, keep the soil moist.

* The deciduous tree-pruning season begins. Make careful, thinning cuts appropriately.

* Plant primroses and cyclamen.

* Buy amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus to bloom indoors during holidays.

* Still an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs.

DECEMBER

* A cool, foggy month. Rain and freezing weather possible.

* Start planting bare-root roses and fruit trees as they become available in nurseries. Check catalogs for seeds, shrubs and plants to add to the garden in spring.

* If peach leaf curl was a problem the previous spring, use copper fungicide before rains come.

* Turn off your sprinklers. Prune deciduous fruit trees and roses.

* Shop for holiday gifts for the gardener.

* Keep poinsettias moist, but not overwatered. Use room-temperature water, lightly fertilize with each watering. Other holiday plants -- Christmas cactus, amaryllis, mums -- are available.

* Prune crape myrtles for best summer blooms. Shop for blooming camellias.

* Move houseplants closer to windows for best winter light. Control mistletoe by cutting it out of infested trees.

* Good time to transplant shrubs and small trees.

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