Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Gardening

Ok, so it's the middle of December and it was all of one degree outside when you woke up today. (Or at least that's what it felt like to me!) Many folks just assume now's the time to stay out of the garden and let nature do its thing over the winter. Nay! To quote gardener and writer Marie Hutson, "The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31." I think you get my drift.

Here are some pointers from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) here at The Gardens. Of course, if you have a specific question you can always visit their website, call the Plant Hotline at 1-800-644-4458, or just stop by and see if somebody here can help you! So without further adieu...
If you haven't started growing and planting your lettuces,
now is a good time to start. Just don't do it when it's 1°!

What to do in December...

Planting is still the main activity but delay in case of freezing weather.

Control wild garlic, chickweed, Poa annua, dandelion, and other weeds. Read label on each can of weed killer used.

Add plants to rose garden. Mulch all plantings.

Annuals and Perennials
Plant hardy annual seed without delay. Have you tried violas?

Continue spring bulb planting.

Shrubs, trees, and indoor plants make excellent holiday gifts.

Cabbages in the Bruno Vegetable Garden.
And then in January...

Fruits & Nuts
Set out apples, peaches, pears, and grapes. Start grafting pecans. Prune dormant trees.

Plant shrubs and trees, including broadleaf, narrowleaf, and deciduous. Graft camellias in South Alabama. Spray all deciduous shrubbery with a dormant spray to control diseases and insects. Spray when weather is on warming trend.

Soil test before setting up fertility program.

Visit nurseries and garden centers to select varieties. Start planting.

Annuals & Perennials
Plant hardy annuals.

Late plantings of Dutch bulbs will flower if planted now. Lilies of all types, except Madonna, may be planted. Check stored bulbs and discard rotten ones. Make indoor plantings of amaryllis, callas, and gloxinias.

Prune winter-damaged limbs. Give houseplants a bath in lukewarm water to remove dust. To keep poinsettias that have finished flowering, turn pots on their sides and let them dry completely. Cut them back lightly Keep in a temperature of 55 to 60°.

Vegetable Seed
Plant hardy vegetables, root crops, roots, and tubers in southern-most areas. Plant lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli in coldframes.

Vegetable Plants
Set out cabbage plants.
Pansies, a hard annual in Alabama, are a nice way to
add color to your garden during cold months.

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