Gardening Tips

Gardening Tips – February 2018

Winter Garden

What a winter we have had in our area so far! With record cold temperatures for record lengths of time, many of us may have lost some of our tender plants. The best thing to do is to cut the foliage/stems back past any freeze damage to just past undamaged tissue. We have to remember however, that February is not over yet. My mama used to say, “Just wait ’til February then you’ll need your big coat!” So be prepared, we could have another freeze(s).

With the winter weather and high winds, plants dry out. So check the soil around your plants (especially potted plants) even if they died back, by doing the finger test. Stick you finger in the soil about an inch or 2. If the soil feels dry, water the plant. Moist soil, do not water. Continue to water your plants as needed throughout the cool months.

Mulch around plants for protection from freezing temperatures and to hold moisture as well as to choke out any weed seeds. Straw, pinebark and leaves will do the job. Avoid using leaves of diseased plants.

In the meantime, continue to buy and plant cool season plants like dianthus, pansies, petunias, snapdragon to name a few. Check for more cool season plant lists and with local nurseries for other blooming garden and indoor potted plants. This is the best time to plant bareroot roses. Don’t forget about our cool season veggies such as beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Swiss chard, collards, lettuce, mustard, potatoes, radishes spinach, snow peas and turnips. It’s a good time to make some soup with those veggies, roast them for best flavor.

Even though your yard may be bare of flowers, make a dry arrangement or use organic materials from the yard such as pine cones, twigs, berries and greenery for simple but elegant touches around the house. Spring is just around the corner!

Submitted by Karen Blackburn