Happy 2012! I hope the new year will be full of happy surprises and successful projects. I recently relocated from Los Gatos to Redwood City and am happily settled in. Livin' down by the bay in Redwood shores and lots of walking trails. Its so much fun to see all the shore birds and explore a new area. I was sad that I had moved to this beautiful area just as winter started but as it turned out it has been a warm,gorgeous month so have been out on the trails everyday.
So around the beginning of the year (Dec. thru Feb) is bare root season. It is an awesome time to buy bare root plants i.e. roses, deciduous fruit trees and berries and some perennials. Plants are more affordable as bare root stock and can get a better "root hold" in the soil when grown from bare root stage.
Bare root means that the dormant plants are sold without soil with roots exposed and just wrapped in shavings. Only dormant or deciduous plants can be sold this way- no evergreens.
When buying bare root plants look for plants that are still without any new leaves or buds that are opening, roots that are plump and full rather than shrunken or shriveled, and plants that have a goodly amount of roots (these will help to support top growth).
Saok the bare root plants in a bucket of water when you get them home and plant in well turned earth that is not soggy or saturated with water. Always add compost and slow release fertilizer when planting new plants. use your fingers to pack the soil around the tender roots filling in all air
pockets. After planting use a broom handle to probe soil areas around the root ball making sure all air pockets are filled in. This is very important.
Water in the plants after planting and repeat as needed if it is not raining much. Use a shredded mulch layer over the root ball and soil to conserve water and keep weeds down. Pull mulch away from the plant crowns.
I often order Roses as bare root plants from Jackson and Perkins. They are excellent plants and I have had beautiful Roses for many years from these shipments.
I hope you will be able to experience this rewarding way of growing plants also and have many fruits from your labors- ha ha.