Liquidambar specializes in transforming ordinary or difficult sites into gardens that blend function with aesthetics. We use subtainable landscape practices that nurture the soil, conserve water and energy, and recycle or repurpose your materials. Transforming small challenging urban spaces is our specialty.

04 March 2011

How to Prepare for Spring Growing Season

Time to put on the gloves and get outside in the sun; or if, like me, you prefer to have someone else do the 'heavy lifting,' e-mail me for referrals to good maintenance gardeners.

BULBS: plant your summer blooming bulbs now, before the garden center runs out of the best varieties; or shop on-line to include some of the more exotic lilies… one source is

PERENNIALS: Add fragrance to your garden with Artemesias such as ‘Powis Castle;’ oreganos and salvias; almost all sages are scented and most are well suited to the Bay Area climate. This is a good time also to install Coreopsis, Gaillardia, Gaura, penstemons, santa Barbara daisies… these are available in economical 6-packs, 4” pots, or 1 gallon sizes for more punch.

EDIBLES: being planning for your berries, strawberries, blueberries and fruit trees. See below for composting and slug prevention.

VEGGIES: lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower can be planted now. Select some potato tubers in the more exotic varieties and flavors now available. And ensure a continuous veggie crop by successively planting beets, carrots, radishes, spinach and turnips every 2 weeks apart.

LAWN: lawns like to be richly fed so top-dress now with a good organic compost, available at most garden centers. Follow directions on the bag. Top-dressing simply means to lay compost on top of the lawn and let the organisms do the work of incorporating it into the soil. This works also for your planting beds.

IRRIGATION: turn on the water and check that all emitters are dripping water; clean or replace any clogged emitters you find. Watch for leaks and repair broken tubes. If this sounds like too much technical labor, contact Urban Farmer Store where you’ll get expert advice as well as any supplies you need:

SLUGS, BUGS & APHIDS: lots of slugs around now due to the rain. To control slugs and snails, spread Sluggo around the perimeter of your planting areas after you’ve removed all visible intruders; as extra protection, spread around vegetable, flower and berry plots; and to minimize future invasions, spread around the perimeter of your garden.

Check new growth on plants for aphids; spray first with water, under the leaves as well, every 7-10 days or so. If aphids persist, try spraying with horticulture oil, available at garden centers.