February 06, 2018
It's time to pull the mulch back from your artichoke plants because it's enabling the newly emerging slug population to get a foothold on them. Encircling them with Deadline is always a Spring chore for me. I can usually put my cold frames over them to keep the cats from stepping on the bait, but this year they are way too big. I'll pull the mulch back 10", put a circle of Deadline around them at 8", and cover it with loose dry mulch, like oak leaves. Boards around the garden perimeter, covering a line of Deadline, are a good idea this time of year also. Slugs are on the move so keeping them out is a priority.
Looking under the boards is fun because every slug you count dead is about a hundred you won't have to deal with this summer. Boards around the strawberry patch always yield a plethora. Spot baiting can be done with garbage can lids or buckets. I move them around about once a week because the bait disappears.
February 07, 2018
The weather is sure cooperating with the garden's spring clean up. Working in warm sunshine always gets me cheerful. The soil is drying out already and earthworms are working in the top 2". If your beets overwintered it's time to pull them up because if they start growing again they get funky. Funky is a technical gardeners term for anything we don't like. If you started your Brussels sprouts from seed they can go in now, and my lettuce starts are ready to be planted in the greenhouse. You can direct seed carrots and green onions now.
Not all Februarys are this warm and dry so this is not a rule of thumb. Next year might be different. Slugs really enjoy carrot and green onion sprouts so when a row comes up don't forget the Deadline. Hula hoeing weeds on these warm days means they don't get a chance to re-root. My kinda Spring.
February 08, 2018
The overwintered beets didn't even get thick skinned. I only had to peel around the tops where they turn brown. I don't think they even knew they had been through a winter. The broccoli had small heads formed, so this mild winter was unique. The broccoli in the back of the garden near the grape vines has been chewed down to the stems by the brazzen birds.
What a huge difference between one side of the garden and the other. The warm weather and few day of sunshine have transformed my attitude about how formidable the task of weeding it will be. It looks absolutely stunning now with a few weed problems instead of overwhelmingly dismally too much work. My glass is half full instead of half empty now, so the seasonal sadness syndrome is strong in this one.