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5 garden tips for this week, Feb. 10-16

By in Press Enterprise on February 12, 2018

By Jack Christensen

1 Timely suggestion

This week has Valentine’s Day, so here’s a friendly reminder to share your love, not only with chocolates but with produce from your garden. And, just for the fun of it, look around your yard for the annual weed that I always call the “I-Love-You Plant.” It has low, feather-like leaves close to the ground and wiry, upright, 20-inch flower spikes sporting lots of seed capsules that look like little hearts.

To me, it’s amazing that this plant only grows around Valentine’s Day. The real name is shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), and it is a member of the mustard family — with edible leaves when young, good raw in salads or cooked as greens. But all those little seed capsules are truly heart-warming.

2 Feeding time

Feed camellias, azaleas, gardenias, roses and other shrubbery. All plants require nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for growth — listed on the plant food label as a three-number formula showing the percentage of each element by weight.

In general, nitrogen promotes leaf development, while phosphorus develops roots, flowers, fruits and seeds, and potassium permits plants to make optimal use of these nutrients and other minerals. Flowering and fruiting plants need a fertilizer blend with a higher percentage of phosphorus, while green shrubbery needs less phosphorus but a higher amount of nitrogen.

3 Juicy fruit

Strawberry season is here at last. Picking the ripest ones every day or two will prolong the harvest season. Don’t let them spoil on the plant, or your plants will stop producing early.

Remember to feed periodically with balanced plant food to encourage growth, flowers and fruit. Oh, and maybe you can create your own chocolate-dipped strawberries for an extra fun and happy Valentine’s Day.

4 Citrus nutrition

In Inland areas — and elsewhere if not done already — apply the first of four annual feedings for mature […]    

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