Placer Master Gardener: Winter garden to-do's include weeds, daffodils

By Lexy Martin, PLacer Master Gardener. Republished from Gold County Media. See original article here. 12/18/21


I admit it. I often write about what I need to be doing in MY garden. What’s on my mind? I’m seeing lots of weeds in my new drought-tolerant landscape. I’m thinking I need to be getting the 200 extra daffodil bulbs I accidentally bought into the ground (ordered twice). I’m thinking my raised garden beds, without winter veggies, need care. I’m even starting to think about preparing for my spring garden.


So, here’s some advice from my research:


Weeds: When we extracted our lawn to go “native,” we needed to add soil to bring it back up to the same level. In my fervor to plant native, we planted a few poppies – beautiful but a big mistake for a small front yard. With the recent rain, I now have some raging baby poppies.

It turns out California poppy plants are aggressive re-seeders. While I love the natural look of poppies, I don’t like how they look when they die off, as they look like weeds.

So, I did some research on how to get rid of poppies. (Pulling poppies is not all that easy, as they have a massive tap root.) I purchased a vinegar-based herbicide to help me control the emerging weeds. I learned a lot about getting rid of weeds by looking at the “Integrated Pest Management” site of UC IPM.

Check out the “weed gallery” and “pesticide info” for “home users” if you too want to control weeds.


Daffodils: I’m a bit late to plant these. Ideally, these go into the ground by the end of November. I’ve planted as late as January and they come up, just a bit later than others in the neighborhood.

That article also references information on planting a whole bunch of other spring flowers, including when to plant: https://ucanr.edu/sites/sacmg/Sacramento_Bulb_Planting_Schedule/.

Planting bulbs, for me, is such a hopeful activity in the late fall, as I know I’ll have great spring color in my garden.

For my raised beds, I’m taking out and storing the hoses. I’m amending my soil because what we put in last year is too dense. My beds need organic compost.

I also found an excellent article that put my mind at rest about other things I might do in my yard now. Ideas like, “If it’s brown, cut it down,” and otherwise, leave it alone. And “leaf it be” because leaves make excellent free mulch. https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/blog/winter-gardening-northern-california.


When I set about doing research for gardening, my go-to sources include “Placer Master Gardener,” “Integrated Pest Management” and “UC Davis Sustainable Gardening.” I also reference my Placer County 2022 Gardening Guide and Calendar.

As for preparing for my spring garden, I think I’ll take the “leaf it be” advice for now and get back to that in a couple of months.


Happy holidays all!