With spring just a week away, now is the time for Laguna Beach homeowners to get a jump-start on their gardens. Temperatures and weather conditions could not be more perfect for cleaning up your landscape and planting new varieties of plants and flowers – especially drought-tolerant varieties that require less water and maintenance. And if you’re feeling resourceful, you may even consider planting some vegetables to enjoy over the coming months. Not sure where to start? Here’s a rundown of what you can be doing right now to have your yard looking its very best.
Tidy up and prepare your soil.
Even with our temperate weather, our gardens do have a short period of dormancy in winter. Spend some time cleaning up fallen leaves, trimming bushes and trees and tidying up garden beds. Clearing away winter mulch and debris allows spring seedlings to sprout and soak up that wonderful Southern California sunshine. Deadhead spent blooms on perennial flowers so that they can use the energy towards new growth. An investment of just a little time will reap big rewards in the coming weeks as your garden comes to life with new color.
If you have raised beds or planters, replace nutrients lost over the past season by adding soil amendment, which can be purchased at any nursery or garden center. Better yet, compost made from fallen leaves and kitchen scraps will not only fluff up your soil but also provide valuable nutrients as it continues to decompose.
Fertilize and add mulch.
Spring is a season of rapid growth for many plants, and you can help them along by fertilizing regularly with an all-purpose fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. If you have any fruit trees such as avocado and citrus, feed them with fertilizer designed specially for their type.
Replace spent mulch around your garden this spring, especially around trees, shrubs and perennials. Mulch helps to inhibit weed growth, keeps the soil cool, and helps the soil to retain moisture.
Plant California natives.
While the best time for planting perennials in California is in the fall, it is not too late in the spring to add some to your garden. In fact, the varieties you will find at garden centers will likely be in bloom, so you can see right away how they will fit into your current landscape. Planting now gives the plants time to establish their roots before the summer heat descends. Consider planting California natives, widely available in the area, to help conserve water.
Consider a vegetable garden.
There is something so rewarding about growing your own vegetables, and now is a great time to get a garden going. Raised beds are the easiest way to start your own edible garden. Installing a drip irrigation system will help keep down water usage and make it easy to maintain. The best crops for planting in the spring season include tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, cucumbers, swiss chard and corn. If you’d like to have some fresh choices but don’t want the work of a full garden, consider a container garden full of herbs. Great choices are basil, chives, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme.