Califonia Bountiful

Gardening Q&A

January/February 2022 California Bountiful magazine

As a California Bountiful reader, you have the opportunity to get your seasonal gardening questions answered by gardening expert Pat Rubin. Here are a few questions from our readers.

I cleaned out the dead vegetable plants from the garden but left the leaves and other debris. Won't it be good for the soil for next year? Someone told me I should clean it up.

You should clean the dead leaves and plants out of the garden. If you want to use those items for compost for next year, make a compost pile. Leaving them on the soil all winter provides a habitat for a lot of undesirable insects.

When do I trim my fruit trees? I have an apple tree and an almond tree.

January and February is the time to do the winter pruning. Apple and almond trees are trimmed in slightly different ways. But first, on both trees, prune away any dead branches. Next, look for branches that are crossing over each other or rubbing against each other. Apples produce fruit on spurs that last many years, so you'll want to be able to identify the spurs so you don't cut them off. Almonds can produce a lot of what's called "water shoots" along the main branches, so you'll want to trim them away.

My best advice is either to look online or go to the local bookstore and buy a book on pruning and growing fruit and nut trees. Take that book or your laptop out into the orchard with you and look at the tree and follow the instructions. You'll eventually learn how to recognize any fruit or nut tree just from the bark and you'll learn the different needs of each type of tree.

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