Let’s Talk About February 2018

By: Pat Cordray
This has been a very cold winter for us. With all the freezing temperatures, our gardens are not looking their best. There is damage in my garden and I suspect there is in your garden as well. I believe that we will have more cold weather in February, I’m not a weather expert, I just feel we are not finished with the cold.  If that happens,
here is what to do: First you want to water, especially if the cold front doesn’t move through here with rain. Next, cover your tender plants with fabric made for protecting plants from the cold. N-Sulate is the product the nursery carries for this purpose. Don’t forget to get the yellow pegs to hold the fabric to the ground. These yellow pegs are easy to see in the dark and easy to remove. You want the fabric to be tented to the ground over your plant. Next, do you have any hanging baskets or plants in containers? If the plants are tender, you can bring them in. If you can’t bring them in, water and cover; for the hanging baskets place them on the ground before watering and covering. Once the cold weather has passed, you should remove the fabric. Now that is done, let’s garden.

 

With the freezes we had in January, many of us have many plants that are looking dead. Unless the plant is mushy don’t trim it back just yet. Wait until we are past all chance of freezing weather, to keep any new growth from being damaged by another freeze. Many plants may look dead, but looks can be deceiving, and the plant may need a trim and with a little patience the plant may come back from the root. How much do you trim off? Start at the top and trim a little at a time until you see live tissue.

 

February 14 is the traditional time to trim your roses back to get them ready to bloom. Make sure

Double Delight hybrid Tea

your pruners are sharp and your gloves are long enough to protect your arms. Hybrid teas and grandifloras need a good trim, trim out anything dead or crossing. Your goal is to get down by 1/3 to ½ of the previous year’s growth and a V-shaped plant with an open center. For floribundas, only cut back about ¼ of the rose bush and keep all the healthy canes.

Moonstone Hybrid Tea

Roses like plenty of sun and air movement and this trimming helps with that. For other roses, clean them up and shape them. If you have climbing roses or roses that bloom once a year trim them soon after they bloom.

It is time to begin our Spring Vegetable growing season. If you want to grow tomatoes, get them now! Tomato transplants are available at the nursery now, we have lots to choose from. As with any young plants, be sure to protect your tomatoes if there is a freeze. Why get them now? You want your tomatoes to produce before it gets so hot and humid that they drop their flowers (if the flowers are gone, you won’t have any fruit). If you are not ready to plant them in the ground, you can plant the tomatoes into larger containers; you will have bigger plants by the time you are ready to transplant them into your garden in March. The first part of February is the best time to plant red potatoes, my favorite.  Other vegetables to plant this month: broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard, collards, lettuce, radish and turnip. What sounds good to you?
What about the lawn? Now is a good time to apply Humates Plus and leaf mold compost to your lawn and garden to help improve the soil. I would wait to fertilize until the lawn is growing. So, mow now and once it is time to mow again it is time to fertilize. I would use Microlife 6-2-4; this is an organic fertilizer and it is great for your lawn, trees and shrubs, and really, any plant that needs feeding. You won’t have to worry if your children walk barefoot on your lawn or if your pet eats some, it won’t hurt them.
Joseph’s Coat Hanging Basket

February is a time for change in the garden. A good way to change your garden is by adding color with hanging baskets. You don’t have to hang the baskets you can set the basket in a big pot for instant color with no planting. We will be getting big, full, luscious hanging baskets this month. These baskets will be overflowing with beautiful color plants like: fuchsia, double impatiens, scaevola, begonias, ferns, coleus, hibiscus, bougainvillea, lantana, verbena, petunia,

Cajun Hibiscus Hanging Basket

geranium, Joseph’s coat, and more.

Enjoy your garden,
Pat