Take it easy if you want. No pressure. But also be aware of seasonal opportunities that only occur once a year. Here are some things you can do in the food garden in the winter — that is January, February, and March.


Sow and plant beets, brassicas (earlier the better), carrots, cilantro, greens, lettuce, parsley, peas, potatoes, radish, and spinach. Now is the easiest time to sow carrots in the ground because it’s easy to keep the seeds moist until germination.

If you need to buy seeds or plants for the year and your local nursery doesn’t have what you want, try Johnny’s or Territorial.

Sow tomatoes indoors from January to be planted from March. (More about when to plant tomatoes.)

Sow peppers, squash, cucumber, and melons indoors more like February and March so you can plant them from April.

Add compost to your beds. Winter rains will wet it thoroughly for free. (My post on using compost on vegetable beds.)


Prune deciduous trees because you can see the branches. (My post on where to make the cuts.)

Prune avocados around March because the threat of damaging cold is finished and new leaves will quickly grow to protect exposed branches from sunburn. (My post on pruning avocados.)

Plant bare-root fruit trees, vines, and berry plants. (Why bare-roots are the best.)

Graft deciduous fruit trees and avocados. Be sure to collect wood for grafting before trees start growing again. February is usually a great month to graft deciduous fruit trees. March is usually the magic month to graft avocados in Southern California. (My post on grafting deciduous fruit trees.) (The best resource on grafting avocados.)

Add mulch under trees. Winter rains will thoroughly wet the mulch for free. (Why mulch under fruit trees?)

Transplant small fruit trees. If you want to move a small fruit tree to another spot, now is the optimum time.

Protect from cold any small trees of tender species, like avocados or mangos. Damaging cold can still occur through the end of February. Don’t be fooled into complacency by this spell in the 80s in the middle of January. (My post on protecting avocados from cold.)

Happy winter gardening!

A list of all my Yard Posts is HERE

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