We’re still in wet and chilly February, but time is a sneaky thing — especially during the novel coronavirus pandemic — and soon we’ll be in the increasingly warm weather of March, April and May when people will plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, corn and other crops.
However, late winter is the time to map out your garden, start spring seeds and make sure the soil is rich and full of nutrients for your seedlings when it’s time to put them in the ground.
Here’s what you should know before you grow.
Preparing the soil
There are lots of ways to grow spring crops, including in pots, in planters and, of course, in the ground. However, before you start digging straight into the backyard, do a little research about your property to make sure there isn’t lead or other harmful chemicals in the dirt.
Craig Walters, director of AGRIscapes, an agricultural outreach and education center for Cal Poly Pomona, said not all in-the-ground soils are optimal for gardening, either. He said throughout Southern California soil types will vary tremendously. Some soils may be claylike or they may be compacted (dense) and that makes it hard to grow plants.
“You can tell this just visually after it rains,” Walters said. “If water sits in your yard in puddles and doesn’t drain for a long time, or days even, there’s a good chance that that soil is either heavily compacted or a clay soil type.”
One of Walters’ suggested remedies? Try raised beds instead, which can