Welcome to our Spring Gardener’s Checklist! This series features suggestions for keeping your garden in tip top shape. 

It’s planting season and we couldn’t be happier! For the first time in years, Southern California gardens are primed for lush spring growth.

Barring any more heavy rainfall, the grounds are now dry enough and the temperatures warm enough to start planting all those plants, trees, fruits, and vegetables we’ve all been waiting for!?

  • start a garden journal

?Reflection is a good first step for garden planning. Starting a journal can be an easy place to start the process. Fill your journal with plant names, tags, sketches, shopping lists and more — it can be as simple or elaborate as you like! An added benefit to journaling is that it can serve as a reminder about what plants and projects worked and which didn’t in the years to come. Having a creative block? Visiting your local botanical garden, nursery, or simply strolling through the neighborhood may be all the inspiration you need!

  • Take a day to prep

?Your perfect spring and summer garden will be the result of how well you plan! Before you start digging, consider location. Certain plants crave warm temperatures and need lots of sunshine, while other can tolerate only a few hours of direct exposure.

  • Clean up beds

?Remove any winter mulch or leaves that may have accumulated in planting beds over winter. If your beds contain perennials, working with your hands is recommended rather than using a rake so as not to uproot any new shoots.

  • Feed your soil

?Almost everything benefits from a complete food in early spring. Invest in a good fertilizer that provides the right balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for your yard’s nutrient requirements. Nitrogen-heavy fertilizers encourage healthy foliage and top growth on lawns. Phosphorus-heavy fertilizers help with root growth as well as flower and fruit development. Potassium-heavy fertilizers help with chemical reactions and overall plant performance and health.

  • Plant Perennial flowers

Perennials are the joy of Southern California gardens. They bloom every year, ensuring a colorful landscape throughout each season. Choose sun loving, un-thirsty types suited for our dry season, such as lantana, penstemon, and salvia.

  • PLANT warm-season edibles

When the air and soil have warmed up, set out tomatoes and other heat lovers such as beans, corn, peppers, and squash. For herbs, oregano, rosemary, and thyme are easy. Other warm-season favorites include basil, chives, and sage. ?

  • PLANT your ideal roses

Peak bloom time begins sometime between March and April, offering the chance to pick colors that you really want. 

  • Plant trees

With temperatures just warming, there’s still time for planting trees and the selections are plentiful! A good rule of thumb is to plant at least four to six weeks before the extreme conditions of summer are expected to arrive. Just remember that newly planted trees need regular watering especially during the first 6 months in the ground.

  • Refresh mulch

Add mulch to planting beds as soon as the soil has warmed up. If you mulch now, you’ll have next-to-no weeding come summer!

  • Revive garden decor

Kick off the season by taking decorative items out of storage or replacing them. Garden accents like arbors, bird baths, spinners, and wind chimes can add dynamic color, sound, and movement to your garden before plants even hit the soil!  

  • Enjoy the spring show!?