- Author: Sophia Stevens
- Editor: Noni Todd
BY Sophia Stephens UCCE Master Gardener
Spring is around the corner. Is now a good time to start planning and planting? Where should I start?
This is a great time of year to start planning and planting. Some plants need to be started as seeds in the ground now, while others do best if started in trays indoors and planted after all risk of frost has passed and the soil has warmed.
A good starting point is to know your climate zone to select the right plant for the right place. Temperature hardiness climate zones are determined by the average high and low temperatures in your area and serve as a guide to help you know which plants will grow and thrive where you live. A valuable resource for identifying your planting zone can be found at https://mg.ucanr.edu/Gardening/ClimateZones/
Once you know your climate zone, you'll be able to reference seed packets and plants from the nursery for ideal planting dates in your area. Larger seeds like beans, peas, squash, and sunflowers are best sown directly into the ground, while smaller seeds like peppers and tomatoes fair better if started indoors in trays or purchased as starts from a nursery. Keep in mind that root vegetables like carrots, beets and radishes do not perform as well when transplanted and will be much happier and healthier when direct sowed into the soil.
When planning your vegetable garden, it's important to note which plants are perennials, biennials and annuals. Annuals are the most common in vegetable gardens as they complete their life cycle in one growing season. We typically pull or pick the plant to eat when its life cycle is complete such as lettuce, carrots, peas and more. Perennials such as asparagus, artichoke, celery, a variety of herbs and fruit trees, will live in your garden for many years and will feed you year after year. Lastly, biennials complete their life cycle in two growing seasons, often going dormant in the winter, then sending up new vegetative growth and flowers the second year before dying. Common examples of biennial crops include broccoli and cabbage, which we often treat as annuals in the garden. However, these plants will provide an edible crop in the fall and spring if left in the ground.
Whichever plants you do choose, plan to protect them from insects, birds and rodents which will be as attracted to your plants as you are. Protect your investment by including gopher cages to protect from burrowing animals and use garden fabric, or even empty milk jugs to protect the above ground portions of your plants from hungry insects and birds. Have these essential tools ready before you plant to set yourself up for a productive season.
If you would like to learn more about how to start seeds, grow a healthy vegetable garden full of annual and perennial plants, please join us at the UC Master Gardener demonstration garden on March 18 at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Visit our website to register. The workshop is free and open to the public. Docents will be available after the workshop until 1:00 pm. If inclement weather, the workshop will be cancelled.
Ways to see or reach us:
You can view workshops on Instagram live at slo mg or visit our You Tube channel at “San Luis Obispo County UC Master Gardeners.”
Visit our website at ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo/ or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our physical offices are now open!!!!!
Covid may still affect staffing levels, so it is best to call before heading to your local Helpline office:
San Luis Obispo: 805-781-5939 (Monday and Thursday 1:00 to 5:00)
Arroyo Grande: 805-473-7190 (10:00 to 12:00)
Templeton: 805-434-4105 (Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00)