September Gardening Activities

Watch for red Spider Lilies to appear like magic this month. You will see them in yards, along roads, in pastures, at old house places, and in some surprising places. They seem to shrive on neglect!

  • Fruits and Nuts–New catalogs will be arriving soon. Start plans for future selection and planting.Red Spider Lily
    Take soil test for new planting areas. Fertilize established strawberry plantings.
  • Shrubs–Study landscape to determine plant needs. check early varieties of camellias. You may want to replace those damaged in spring by late freezes. After fall growth is completed, spray all shrubs with a fungicide.
  • Lawns–Plant seed of winter grasses where situation prevents planting permanent grasses. Winter seeds will appear soon. Stop fertilization three weeks before first frost.
  • Roses–Protect fall crops of blossoms from aphids and thrips. Keep plants health.
  • Annuals and Perennials–Last chance for planting perennials and biennials. Old clumps of perennials may be divided. Plant peonies.
  • Bulbs–Spring flowering bulbs may be planted late this month in North Alabama. Delay planting in South Alabama.
  • Miscellaneous–Clean up infestations of insects on azaleas, camellias, boxwoods, gardenias, hollies, etc. If oil spray is needed, don’t use in freezing weather. Build compost bin or box; leaves will be falling soon. Move houseplants indoors.
  • Vegetable Seed–Plant hardy vegetables and root crops.
  • Vegetable Plants–Plant cabbage, collards, cauliflower, celery, Brussels sprouts, and onion sets.

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Gardening Calendar

February Gardening Activities

Bright yellow crocus and other early blooming plants will soon announce that spring is on its way. If you do not have crocus in your garden be sure to plant some next Fall.

  • Planting season continues for dormant trees, shrubs, roses. You may plant some vegetable seeds such as collards and Swiss chard as well as vegetable transplants including cabbage, onions, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and strawberries.
  • Prepare beds for summer annuals.
  • Fertilize fruit trees, fertilize grape at a half rate now and a half after fruit sets.
  • Spray shrubs with fungicide before new growth starts.

yellow crocus

Picture credit: Trisha Williams, edited by Audrey Giles
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