October Gardening Activities

Plant pansies, violas and snapdragons in mid-October for  fall and winter color. Ornamental kale, parsley, red mustard and Swiss chard are other great choices for containers and flower beds this time of year. winter container

  • Fruits and Nuts–Planting season for strawberries starts in South Alabama. Clean up orchard areas.
  • Shrubs–Shrub plantings can be made. Water when needed. Note varieties of camellias in bloom. Mulch shrubs that do not have mulch.
  • Lawns–Continue to mow lawns until no new growth is noticeable.
  • Roses–Continue insect and disease control practices.
  • Annuals and perennials–Visit flower shows and gardens. List desirable varieties of mums. clean up flower beds immediatlely after killing frost.
  • Bulbs–Plant tulips, hyacinths, daffodils,, crocuses, Dutch irises, anemones, and ranunculuses. Watch planting depth. Dig caladiums; clean and store in warm place.
  • Miscellaneous–Renew mulch around shrubs and rose beds. Loosen mulches that have packed down. Spray with oils before freezing weather to control insects. Remove all dead stems and trash from flower beds. Transplant into small pots any cuttings taken earlier.
  • Vegetable Seed–Plant turnips, mustard, kale, rape, spinach, and onion sets.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Gardening Calendar

March Gardening Activities

Daffodils, forsythia and flowering quince are among the flowers making an appearance this month.

FLOWERING QUINCE

FLOWERING QUINCE

  • Fruits and Nuts–Continue strawberry and grape plantings. Start planting blackberries.
  • Bulbs–Plant cannas, amaryllis, gladiolus and zephyranthes in South Alabama; delay planting a few weeks in North Alabama.
  • Shrubs–Fertilize shrubs (except azaleas and camellias) according to a soil test. Plant transplants. Watch shrubs for harmful insects.
  • Lawns–Fertilize established lawns.
  • Roses–Watch new growth for aphids. Begin a spray or dust program. Begin fertilizing.
  • Vegetable plants– Plant cabbage, onions, lettuce, broccoli and Brussels sprouts in North Alabama, and plant tomatoes and peppers in lower South Alabama

Source:  Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Gardening Calendar

Decorating with Greenery

Decorating with fresh greenery from your landscape is easy and a great way to bring the outside in. AND, oh yes,  it is basically free! Many evergreens hold up well for a week to 10 days inside your home. If you place the stems in water and place them outside on your porch they will often last weeks during the cool days of our fall and winter.

There are many landscape and forest plants that perform well including pine, cedar, magnolia, juniper, wax myrtle, pittosporum, nandina, Leyland cypress, arborvitae, ivy and holly of all types. If you don’t know which plants perform well and which don’t, experiment with them ahead of your event.

You will need clippers to cut the greenery and a bucket of water to place them in as you cut. You may need to split the hard stems or bash with a hammer to open up the stems so they will absorb more water. You may want to rinse the greenery before letting it sit overnight in a cool place to absorb water.

Many evergreens like pine, cedar and magnolia leaves will hold up for several days without water but putting them in a container with water  will prolong their life.

Adding springs of fresh greenery to florist flowers is inexpensive and will transform simple cut flowers into holiday decorations. You may add greenery along your mantle or banister, in the branches of your chandelier, around a holiday decoration and many other places in your home.

Caution: some plants and berries may be toxic to people and pets.

For more information on using fresh greenery check out  Holiday Decorating with Fresh Greenery from Clemson Cooperative Extension. This publication has great pictures, more detailed information and even directions to make your own kissing ball.

 

Late Winter Blooms

Even with the cold temperatures in late winter is your garden showing signs of the coming spring? Have your crocuses and daffodils announced themselves yet? Do you have lenten rose blooming and buds on your old garden quince? If not, you should consider planting these and you will be excited when they show up and tell you  that Spring really is on the way!

Trisha Williams

 

 

Try a Cold Frame

A simple cold frame as pictured here is used as picture of a cold framea miniature greenhouse to protect tender plants from cold, grow plants such as lettuce, spinach, and radishes through the winter and to start transplants for spring gardens. The cold frame pictured was built by a Master Gardener from lumber and has a recycled glass storm door for the cover. Some are built from concrete blocks. In very cold weather an old quilt, blanket or straw can be used to cover it and help hold the heat. Some gardeners use a remote thermometer to check the temperature. When we have warm days the top will need to be propped open to regulate the temperature.

Trisha Williams