So, how's your garden looking? Have
you noticed any signs of life? If you have been out looking then
I am sure that you have noticed some plants have already started
their awakening. The unusually warm weather we've been
experiencing is playing havoc with our plants. Warm, cold, warm
again. Mother Nature is trying to trick us. We will not fall
prey to her old song and dance -
getting us to believe that spring is closer than we think. In
fact, this warmer weather leads me to believe that March and
April will be cooler than
usual. But what do I know? I try to
guess every year and am constantly outsmarted by the
'ole gal. For now I will revel in the
days I can be outside and will continuously look at the date on
the calendar to help guide me.
your plants from heaving (keeping the crowns of the plant at
soil level) keep your gardens covered with mulch or leaves. Both
of these materials will provide an extra layer of warmth to help
stabilize the grounds temperature. It is far too early to start
removing any type of mulch you placed on the garden to protect
it during the winter. The additional layers will need to be
removed once the last frost date has finally passed which is
typically mid April.
If you take advantage of winter to get some pruning done
remember that when pruning large limbs, always undercut
first. This means cut from the bottom up, one-third of the way
through the limb, then finish by cutting from the top. The
undercut keeps the limb from splitting and breaking off, which
could damage the trunk and become an entryway for insects and
diseases. Also, don't cut flush to the trunk. The collar or
enlarged base of a branch produces hormones that help heal
Each year the All-America Selection organization selects the best
new flowers and vegetables based on carefully controlled trials
across North America. This is a great resource for
discovering new and interesting flowers and vegetables for your
garden. We have posted
this year's AAS winners on our website.
Jade In The Shade?
Many Savvygardeners grow Jade plants because of their
tolerance for low light conditions. However, while jade will
survive in low light, it needs as much direct sunlight as
possible to look its best. Insufficient light will cause your
jade plant to lose most of its old, thick leaves and grow thin,
new ones on spindly stems. Not a good trade-off if you ask me.
Savvy Citrus Crop?
Here's a mid-winter project that is sure to be fun for
Savvygardeners of all ages - grow plants from citrus fruit
seeds. Store-bought oranges, grapefruits, lemons and
tangerines, may have viable seeds. Try germinating them in a
light, potting-soil mixture containing half peat moss. Keep the
seeds well watered and in a warm location. If seedlings fail to
appear in six weeks, try again with new seeds. Citrus plants
grown from seeds generally will not produce flowers or fruit,
but they do have attractive shiny-leaved foliage.
Be Savvy, Not Soggy...
Overwatering is a common problem with houseplants.
Remember, most indoor plants should not be watered until the
soil feels dry. Water thoroughly, let the water soak in, then
water again until water drains into the saucer. Empty the
saucer within an hour.
You may find yourself perusing a seed catalog and come
across something called pelleted seed. Some mail order
seed companies offer pelleted seed of lettuce, carrot, and a few
other small-seeded crops. Pelleted seed is like any other seed
except that it has a special coating that makes it larger.
While almost anyone will appreciate the convenience of larger
seeds it is especially valuable for children and gardeners with
arthritic hands, weak eyesight, or poor coordination. When
using pelleted seed, plant in moist soil and keep it moist as
the coating has to dissolve before the seed can germinate.
We've seen some interesting swings in temperatures lately.
While most of us appreciate the days above freezing, our plants
may be less than thrilled. The freezing and thawing of the
ground can force shallow-rooted plants out of the soil. This is
called "heaving" and should not be a problem if you mulched well
at the onset of winter. If you see any signs of heaving among
your plantings simply replant any that have heaved and mulch
with 2 inches of organic material. Those leaves that seem to
linger all season are perfect!
"My good hoe as it
bites the ground revenges my wrongs, and I have less lust to
bite my enemies. In smoothing the rough hillocks, I smooth my
Ralph Waldo Emerson