February Tips & Events for Santa Clara County
" February is the border between winter and spring. — Terri Guillemets
Our Spring Market is Moving!
A heads-up: this year's Spring Garden Market will be at a new location—Martial Cottle Park in San Jose, Saturday, April 14, starting at 9:00 a.m. Mark it on your calendars! We'll be offering a huge variety of tomato and pepper plants along with a selection of herbs, flowers, and succulents. Plus, there'll be talks and information tables to help answer all your gardening questions.
Tomato seedlings adjusted
Tomatoes in February?
No actual tomatoes yet, but it is time to start the plants from seed if you want a long growing season with lots of fruit. Follow the planting instructions on the seed packet. Start indoors in a light potting soil, keep moist, and provide lots of light once the seedlings start to grow. Fluorescent shop lights or grow lights mimic sunlight.  

Photo: tomato seedlings being prepared for last year's Spring Garden Market, Allen Buchinski
Buddha's Hand- Fingered Citron, UC ANR Repository, Sofia Kamenidou
Good Fortune
What’s that funny looking citrus with all the fingers on the Lunar New Year altars? It’s called Buddha’s Hand citron, and it’s supposed to look like that. It grows on a small tree and does well in containers. It is sensitive to frost. The fruit is primarily used for decoration, yet the peel can be used to flavor food and beverages.

Buddha's Hand Citron , UC Riverside
Photo: UC ANR, Sofia Kamenidou
Citrus bud mite damage, Photo UC ANR, Jack Kelly Clark
Truly Deformed Citrus
An unintentionally deformed citrus is likely due to a pest called citrus bud mite. They are tiny critters that feed on the buds in the early stages. The bud is either killed, or it is damaged in such a way that the later fruit is deformed. It tends to damage only a few fruit per tree so it is usually best left alone for natural pest control to take care of it.

Citrus Bud Mite , UC Pest Note
Photo: UC, Jack Kelly Clark
Dormant Pruning
Most fruit trees are easiest to prune in the winter when they are dormant and it is easy to see the branches. First, remove dead and diseased wood. Then remove branches that are rubbing, crossing, or growing in an odd direction. Finally, prune branches to shape the tree nicely, to provide for sunlight and air circulation, and to optimize fruit production. Some fruit grows on spurs, some on new wood, and some on year-old wood, so check out UC’s directions for specific trees. And note: apricots and cherries shouldn't be pruned during the rainy season because of Eutypa dieback .
Pruning for an open center, UC Home Orchard Publication 8057
Illustration: Open center pruning method. (A) Bare root tree at planting. (B) Tree headed after planting. (C) Growth after one season. (D) Tree pruned after one growing season.

Pruning and Training , The California Backyard Orchard
Become a Master Gardener!
Interested in what we do? Visit our website to learn more about the UC Master Gardeners and submit your name to learn about the application process. Requirements:
  • Submit your name by May 31
  • Attend one of three information meetings to be held in June and July
  • Be available for training, Thursdays, January–mid-May 2019
Visit or subscribe to our blog  for longer articles on seasonal topics
Upcoming Events
Sat, Feb 03, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.,  Pruning Roses and Planting Bare Root Fruit Trees , Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, 851 Center Drive,  Palo Alto

Mon, Feb 05, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Growing Salad Greens in your Garden , Morgan Hill Library, 50 W Main Ave,  Morgan Hill

Mon, Feb 05, 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.,  Success in the Year-Round Vegetable Garden: Six-Week Course , Palo Alto High School, 50 Embarcadero Road,  Palo Alto

Tue, Feb 06, 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.,  Growing Citrus in Santa Clara County , Campbell Library, 77 Harrison Ave,  Campbell

Sat, Feb 10, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.,  Hands on Fruit Tree Grafting , St. Louise Hospital Teaching & Demo Garden, 9400 No Name Uno Way,  Gilroy

Sat, Feb 10, 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.,  Growing Fabulous Citrus , Program Room, Sunnyvale Public Library, 665 W Olive Ave,  Sunnyvale

Sat, Feb 17, 9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.,  How to Winter Prune Your Fruit Trees  , Guadalupe Historic Family Orchard, San Jose

Wed, Feb 21, 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.,  From Seed to Plant , Community Room, Calabazas Branch Public library, 1230 S. Blaney Ave,  San Jose

Thu, Feb 22, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Growing Vegetables in Containers , Palo Alto Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road,  Palo Alto

Wed, Feb 28, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Gardening with Succulents , Los Altos Library, 13 S San Antonio Rd.,  Los Altos

Thu, Mar 01, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Growing Healthy Garden Soil with Compost: Three-Week Course  ($45/3 weeks ), Camden Community Center, 3369 Union Avenue,  San Jose

Sat, Mar 03, 9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.,  Hands on Experience on How to Prune a Citrus Tree- Plant a New Tree and Set Up Irrigation , Guadalupe Historic Family Orchard, San Jose

Wed, Mar 07, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Attracting California Native Bees to the Urban Garden , Cupertino Community Hall, 10350 Torre Ave,  Cupertino

Sat, Mar 17, 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.,  Growing Warm Season Vegetables , Sunnyvale Public Library, 665 W Olive Ave,  Sunnyvale

Wed, Mar 21, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Success in the Vegetable Garden: Six-Week Course , Guadalupe River Park, 438 Coleman Ave.,  San Jose

Sat, Apr 14, 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.,  Spring Garden Market - Martial Cottle Park , 5283 Snell Ave, San Jose, Martial Cottle Park (Master Gardener area),  San Jose
Visit the UC Master Gardener Program website  for additional information including an up-to-date list of events and classes .

Have a gardening question? Contact our Hotline (for Santa Clara County residents). Start by reviewing our plant  problem diagnosis tips .
  • Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., 408-282-3105
  • Fri ONLY 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m., 650-329-1356 (Closed Dec. & Jan.)
  • Or send us your question online

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Santa Clara County Master Gardener Program volunteers are trained under the auspices of the UCCE. Our mission is to promote sustainable gardening practices by providing up-to-date, research-based horticultural information to home gardeners.

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