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Friday, February 10, 2012

February Todo List for the Orchard and Fruit Trees

·       Pruning should be mostly finished by February 1. You have a little bit more time for grapes, pomegranates and figs. I like to prune grapes as late in the season as possible to avoid any late freezing damage to the spurs.
Thrips damage to nectarines
·        Irrigations should begin weekly as soon as new growth appears. The number of minutes depends on the irrigation system and how many gallons per minute or gallons per hour the system delivers. Drip irrigation is in gallons per hour.

·        Begin spraying nectarines for damage to the fruit by western flower thrips. Damage is heavy scarring and droplets of sap coming from the fruit. Do not spray during bloom but immediately after the petals fall from the flowers. Use Spinosad in rotation with insecticidal soap and Neem.

·        Fertilize overwintering onions and garlic with high nitrogen once a month. Garlic and onions will resume growth with warm temperatures. Lightly fertilize garlic as it begins growing again. Onion transplants are normally planted around mid-March and should be fertilized with high phosphorus when transplanted and nitrogen a few weeks later.

·         Prepare smoking wood from prunings. The Orchard has smoking and grilling fruit would available at very reasonable prices. Wood includes peach, apple, pear, fig and others.

·         Fix rabbit holes in fences particularly asparagus. Birds will damage the leaves of broccoli and cauliflower but usually not the heads.

·         Lightly fertilize winter vegetables monthly with your favorite high nitrogen fertilizer.

·       Spray emerging and growing vegetables weekly with insecticidal soap. Make sure you spray on the undersides of the leaves.

·         When you put vegetable transplants in your garden make sure you apply Bt (Dipel or Thuricide) for cutworm control. Spray or dust the soil surface around transplants after planting. Repeat it according to the label until transplants gain some size.

·         Irrigate vegetables as needed. New transplants or emerging seed will need to be irrigated daily until you see strong growth. Established vegetables can be irrigated every two or three days.

·         Be sure to apply a surface mulch after planting vegetable seeds, particularly if they are small like radish, carrots and lettuce.

Persimmon response to compost applied to the soil
·         Check irrigation lines and vegetable plots for leakage. Tighten drip tape so there are no kinks in the drip tape.

·         Apply two, 5 gallon buckets of compost around the persimmons. They really liked compost.

·         Harvest asparagus about once or twice each week right now. As air temperature increases you will be cutting more often. When temperatures reach the high 80s or 90s, expect to cut daily. Cut off spears 1 inch below the soil surface.

·         Begin pruning grapes in February. Prune last year's growth back to 18 inches and finish pruning grapes to one or two buds at the end of February. Table grapes are slower to emerge and can be pruned later than wine grapes.
Grape cutting
·         Take grape cuttings to start new plants. Cuttings should include three buds and be the diameter of a good-sized pencil. When taking grape cuttings, make the bottom cut straight and the top cut angled so you know which end should be planted up. Be sure to label the cuttings.

·       Tighten grape trellis wires and refasten the cordons tightly to the cordon wire.

·       Write labels for vegetable seeds that were ordered.

·        Dig blackberries and plant them in 5 gallon containers with a bamboo stake to hold them erect.

·      Watch for tent caterpillar in apricots and plums. Apply Bt or Spinosad if you see them starting to form a nest.

·       Check irrigation bubblers for blockage.

·       Move straw bales to vegetable plots for mulching.

·         Monitor weather temperatures for freeze losses to fruit. If you see freezing temperatures, look in the Orchard to see which fruit trees have flowers which are open. These will be the most sensitive to freezes.

·         Begin weeding vegetable plots.


  1. where do I get Spinosad?

  2. Spinosad is easier to get now than it used to be. I have seen it at Plant World Nursery under the name of spinosad I think. There are a couple of formulations so look around. Fertilome puts it under the name Borer, Bagworm, Tent Caterpillar & Leafminer Spray and there are some others. Check the ingredients to make sure.

  3. Thank you for listing monthly "To Do's" - they are extremely helpful to me and my own garden!