January Gardening Activities

January is a great time to do your garden tool maintenance–clean, oil and sharpen tools. You may also want to do a soil test in preparation for the growing season.old garden tools huanging on side of barn

  • Fruits–Set out apples, peaches, pears, and grapes, prune dormant trees.
  • Shrubs–Plant shrubs and trees. Spray deciduous shrubs with dormant oil spray to control disease and insects. Choose a day when weather warms.
  • Lawns–Soil test before setting up a fertility program.
  • Roses–Visit nurseries to select varieties and start planting. planted.
  • Annuals and perennials–Plant hardy annuals.
  • Bulbs–Lilies, except Madonna, may be planted. Check stored bulbs and discard rotten ones. Make indoor plantings of amaryllis, callas, and gloxinias.
  • Miscellaneous–Prune winter-damaged limbs. Give houseplants a bath in lukewarm water to remove dust.
  • Vegetable Seed–Plant hardy vegetables, root crops, and tubers in southern-most areas. Plant lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli in cold frames.
  • Vegetable Plants–Set out cabbage plants

Source: Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Gardening Calendar

Photo credit: pixabay.com

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