Dirty Digs


Read the latest from the Autauga County Master Gardeners Association in its publication, Dirty Digs!  Share it with your friends and neighbors and encourage them to join our dynamic group of gardeners whose volunteerism and enthusiasm for learning is unsurpassed!






Prattvillage Gardens are the education and demonstration gardens for Autauga County Extension Master Gardeners.  The garden is located in the first block of First Street in historic downtown Prattville.

c. 1845   The Little Chapel was given to Prattvillage by the Wendland family who own the farm where it was discovered. It may be the Episcopal Church mentioned by Shadrack Mims in his History of Autauga County. It has Gothic doors and windows. The gardens are maintained by Autauga County Master Gardeners.

Open the gate and come on in! Prattvillage Garden was developed in 1995 by the Autauga County Master Gardeners Association as a place of beauty and respite for the community to visit and enjoy. It is used as a teaching garden and as the location of our annual spring plant sale. The circa 1840s chapel is the cornerstone of the garden and is one of the most photographed buildings in the county.

Plants in Prattvillage Garden

The focus of the garden is period-appropriate, enhancing the primitive Gothic-style chapel. It is also beautiful and educational, even providing a habitat for local wildlife. The herb garden is the only section of the garden true to the original design. The quadrants contain herbs for medicinal, culinary, tea and miscellaneous purposes. The edging for the herb garden is historical in its own right, as the rocks were used for ballast on the barges moving up and down the Alabama River.

Other planted beds include a blend of hardy perennials, native plants, nectar sources and host plants for pollinators, annuals, shrubs, and trees that will flourish in the area. The plants were chosen because they would have been grown in the era of the chapel. They are tried and true!

History of the Chapel

The chapel is circa 1845 and was located on the homestead of Thomas L. Faulkner where it was probably used as a family chapel. Reports show that it had several additional uses before finally being used as a residence for workers on what is now Wendland Farms. It was ‘rediscovered’ by a couple of plant rustlers looking for old plant specimens.

The Wendland family  donated the chapel to Prattvillage Associates in 1992. It was moved approximately 15 miles east on Highway 14 to its current location in Prattvillage Garden. It is now the cornerstone of the garden and is the backdrop for many weddings and celebrations.

Even though the garden is privately owned,  it is open to the public for enjoyment from dawn to dusk every day.  Reserve the garden for weddings, photography sessions, and other small events for a nominal donation.

To reserve the garden, please call 334-365-7806.




Learn—month by month—the necessary gardening activities for lawns and shrubs, annuals and perennials, fruit and nut trees, and bulbs, roots, and tubers. Included is a timeline for activities such as soil testing, planting, pruning, fertilizing, pruning, mulching, indoor plantings—from cauliflower to okra, from camellias to dahlias to heirloom roses.

Photo courtesy of Dawn Whitehead


Fruits and Nuts
Planting season continues for dormant trees.
Fertilize fruit trees.
Apply half of the fertilizer recommended for grapes now; apply the other half soon after fruit sets.
Continue dormant pruning and grafting. Start strawberry plantings.
Planting season continues.
Visit camellia shows to learn of hardy varieties in your area.
Graft camellias in central and south Alabama.
Spray all shrubs with a fungicide before new growth starts.
Prune all shrubs before new growth starts.
Don’t prune early-blooming species because flower buds will be removed.
Prune hybrid tea roses in south Alabama; delay pruning for a few weeks in north Alabama.
Continue planting.
Annuals and Perennials
Replant early plantings of hardy annuals.
Prepare beds for summer annuals.
Plant cannas, amaryllis, gladiolus, and zephyranthes in south Alabama; delay planting for a few weeks in north Alabama.
House plants are beginning to show signs of activity.
Fertilize with liquid or soluble fertilizer according to manufacturer’s directions.
Remember Valentine’s Day. Why not send roses or a potted plant?
Apply preemergent herbicides if forgotten in September and if spring weeds were a concern last year.
If south Alabama’s winter was mild, centipede grass may not be fully dormant. Monitor for fungal disease.
Vegetable Seeds
South and Central: Plant the same vegetables listed for January. Add carrots, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, radishes, turnips, and additional plantings of leafy greens.
North: Plant kale. Wait until the end of February to plant beets, carrots, collards, garden peas, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, spinach, Swiss chard, radishes, and turnips.
Vegetable Transplants
Whole state: Plant asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, onion sets, kale, lettuce, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
South and Central: Plant asparagus, cabbage and broccoli, and certified seed potatoes for Irish and red- skinned varieties.
North: Wait towards the end of the month to plant certified seed potatoes for Irish and red-skinned varieties and asparagus.


Fruits and Nuts
Continue strawberry and grape plantings.
Bud apples and peaches.
Start planting blackberries. If weather conditions prevent prompt planting, heel the plants in by placing the root system in a trench and covering the soil.
Fertilize shrubs (except azaleas and camellias) according to a soil test.
Late plantings may be made, particularly if they are container grown.
Monitor shrubs for harmful insects.
Plant bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and centipedegrass in south Alabama.
Soil test and add limestone as recommended.
Fertilize fescue lawns at 1 pound slow-release nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
South: If daytime temps are consistently above 70 degress F, consider applying fire ant bait. Read label carefully for best control.
Watch new growth for aphids.
Begin a spray or dust program.
Begin fertilizing.
Annuals and Perennials
South: Plant half-hardy annuals.
Check garden centers for bedding plants such as geraniums and petunias.
Plant gladiolus every 2 or 3 weeks if a long blooming season is desired.
Plant tuberous begonias in pots. Plant dahlias.
Check and repair sprayers, dusters, and lawn mowers.
Control lawn weeds with chemicals as needed. If weeds are deemed a serious problem, send a soil sample for testing as weeds can indicate the lawn is unhealthy.
Delay pruning of fruiting shrubs such as cotoneasters, pyracanthas, and hollies until after flowering.
Vegetable Seeds
Central and North: Plant all hardy crops recommended for January and February (garden peas, leafy greens, and root crops).
Central and South: Continue planting carrots, lettuce, and radishes. Plant sweet corn and squash. South Alabama can start planting beans, melons, and southern peas in late March.
Vegetable Transplants
Central and North: Plant asparagus, onion sets, and lettuce. Plant certified seed potatoes for Irish and red- skinned varieties in early March.
South: Harden off tomato, pepper, and eggplant transplants. Plant when the soil has warmed above 65 degrees F and the threat of frost is over.

Article courtesy of ACES.
For a month-by-month Alabama Gardener’s Calendar, click here!

Sweet Pickled Peppers

Recipe yields: 8 – 16 ounce jars

These Pickled Peppers are amazing on sandwiches, steak and cheese subs, and in salads.


  • 1 tablespoon pickling or kosher salt
  • 6 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 cups granulated sugar
  • 8-10 cloves garlic smashed
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 4 ½ to 5 pounds red, green, orange peppers sliced ¼-inch
  • 1 large onion halved and sliced thinly


 In a large pot, make the brine. Place the salt, cider and white vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, and
spices in a large pan and bring to a boil over medium to high heat.
 Sterilize your jars in a 16-quart canning pot. Place the sliced peppers and onions into the jars.
Press down to compact and make sure you have plenty of peppers and onions in each jar, as
they will rise up to the surface during the processing.
 Using a wide-mouth funnel, ladle hot pickling brine over top of the peppers and onions, leaving
½-inch head space. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rim with a clean, damp paper towel.
Center the lid on the jar. Apply the band until the fit is fingertip tight.
 Place the jars in a water bath and process for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove from
the water bath. Allow to cool completely on the counter for 24 hours. For best flavor, let stand
for 3 to 4 weeks before enjoying. Store the jars in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
 Once opened, store in the refrigerator.


Calories: 728kcal | Carbohydrates: 171g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturat Fat: 1g | Sodium: 902mg | Potassium: 736mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 162g | Vitamin A: 7995IU | Vitamin C: 328mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg

Recipe Source Link:  https://afarmgirlskitchen.com/pickled-sweet-peppers/#recipe