Gardening alert! It’s time to get busy here in Chambers County, if you want to beat the heat.  If you’ve planned to plant new trees and bushes, do it now, not March or April.  If you want to start plants from seeds, and haven’t planted them already, get going!  Tomatoes and peppers need 6 weeks of growing before they are good for transplanting.  They can actually wait a week or two, but like they say, the early bird gets the worm, so if you plant the seed now, you are likely to get those earlier tomatoes, and the bragging rights that go with them.

 Lettuces and other greens get their last hurrah for planting now.  If we have early hot spells, they will bolt and you won’t be able to enjoy them.  And your potatoes need to be in the ground before the weather warms. Cut the seed potatoes (you can get them from the farm supply stores) with one eye each, and allow them to sit in a well-aired area a few days.  Then plant them in the bottom of a trench, covering with just a little soil (about an inch).  As the plants grow, slowly fill in the trench with rich soil and compost.

 Spun row cover is a very useful item in the spring garden.  Planting in the late winter can mean early plants, but a cool snap can harm the tender shoots.  Spun row cover over the garden allows sunlight and water, but can mean all the difference in a temperature drop.  Another added benefit is that the cover can be left on till the plants are several inches high; it keeps the moths, butterflies, and nasty insects from laying eggs on your baby plants, reducing the pest issue later on.  Consider spun row cover for your long term gardening investment.  The cover will last for several years if handled carefully.

Spring flowers in pots and baskets are some of the most popular draws for garden shoppers.  When purchasing, remember that the full-blown, eye-catching pots may have shot their wad, and choose instead those with more buds to open.  If you buy and they fade, a light fertilizing and some careful snipping can bring these beauties back for several more weeks.  And as the weather warms, remember that pots and baskets dry out much quicker than plants in the ground.

Most everyone knows the rule to prune your roses on St. Valentine’s Day.  If you haven’t pruned roses before (or anything else for that matter), check out a book from the library or do some quick research on the Internet.  It will be worth it to get it done right.  And don’t perform “crepe murder” on your crepe myrtle.  Allow them to grow more naturally, which is the goal for all good pruning.

Fruit and nut trees should be fertilized now – don’t overdo it!  Follow the directions on the package.  And before things bud and flower, get your dormant sprays out and do some preventive maintenance.  That way you won’t have issues and need to call the Extension Office later….but of course, if you do have a problem in the yard or garden, we want to hear about it!  The Chambers County Agri-Life Extension Office is located in White’s Park, and can provide you with information that can get your yard and garden in beautiful shape.

 

– Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.