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Tom's Monthly Gotta-Do's

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Happy new gardening year! Actually our gardening year started in August with the replanting of warm season vegetables and flowers that took us into fall. Now we are involved with the cool season plantings. Don’t miss out on what I feel is the best of the vegetable and flower gardens. Now, while there is still time, add these great cool season plantings to your landscape. Check out lists to learn the plantings that can still be made this month.

Many gardeners seem to forget the great herbs listed grow at this time of the year. Most herbs like the cooler weather and flourish during the winter months. Often it is best to grow them in containers so they can be moved about as needed. Of course herbs can also be grown in the ground too. Now here is something you might also do. Use herbs in hanging baskets with the seasonal flowers. Many like thyme, oregano and mint cascade over the sides to attract extra attention.

Don’t forget even though it is winter these plantings are making lots of growth. We thus need to keep them growing with light but monthly feedings. Use a fertilizer made for these crops or you might select a slow release general garden product that has become a general fertilizer for most flower and vegetable plantings. These later products can feed your plants for months.

Now, February is a busy month. Just because it can still be a bit cool don’t think there is going to be time to always relax. Get involved with your landscape and consider spending some time outdoors with your plantings. Take a look at my Gotta Do’s below to decide what is needed in your landscape too.

 

Tom's Gotta Do's for February, 2017:

Lawn care:

- Warm but dry weather has caused spots in lawns to turn brown; give these areas extra water.
- One way to control weeds is with regular mowings to reduce them to the height of the lawn.
- Cool season weeds can also be spot treated with herbicides as labeled for your lawn type.
- Brown patch disease is causing yellow areas in many lawns; apply a fungicide as needed.
- Severe cold could be very damaging to lawns due to the warm weather; most should regrow.
- Alexandergrass and similar weeds are turning brown; fix these areas with new sod or plugs.
- Apply a crabgrass preventer around mid month to stop weedy grasses from germinating.
- Tan to brown blades can be left or raked from lawns as growth begins.
- Mow zoysia lawns to the desired height of 2- to 2-1/2-inches before spring growth begins.
- First of the year feedings of most lawns can begin at the end of the month or early March.
- Delay feedings of centipede and zoysia lawns until they regreen for spring in April.
- Aeration can help lawns with compacted soils, nematodes or hard to wet soils.

Vegetable & fruit gardening:

- Purchase new seeds for the garden early to obtain the best selections
- When possible select seeds to produce plants with disease and nematode resistance.
- Store seeds in a sealed container or plastic bag in the refrigerator for an extended life.
- If the weather remains warmish, only four weeks are needed to produce a transplant from seed.
- Cool season vegetables can be planted through early February.
- Remove declining crops to prepare for new plantings.
- Improve sandy and old garden sites with organic matter before starting new plantings.
- Plant container gardens to enjoy vegetables and herbs on porches and patios.
- Fertilize, groom and harvest herbs to keep them producing; dry and store extras.
- Warm season vegetables planted in late February are likely to need cold protection.
- Support vining crops by tying the vines to a stake or trellis.
- Plant additional fruiting trees, shrubs and vines.
- Pine bark fines can be used to help adjust the soil acidity for blueberry plantings.
- Feed all fruit producing trees, shrubs and vines in late February.
- Sharpen, shovels, hoes and pruners to have them ready for spring planting and plant care.

In the landscape:

- Dry winter weather causes many plants to wilt or decline: spot waterings may be needed.
- Expect plants to begin early growth if the warm weather continues in February.
- A freeze now could cause major damage; keep covers handy and your fingers crossed.
- Begin pruning all but late winter and spring bloomers as needed.
- Reshape overgrown and out of bounds plantings including hedges.
- Only remove seed heads, small stems and suckers from crape myrtles.
- Prune ornamental grasses to within a foot or two of the ground before growth begins.
- Remove declining fronds and fruiting stalks from palms; leave the good green foliage.
- Give all but climbing roses a first of the year pruning around mid month.
- Trim climbing roses after spring blooms to only remove dead or out of bounds shoots.
- Trim back out of bounds perennials; remove old flower heads and seed pods.
- Look for Florida bulbs to plant at garden centers to obtain the best selection.
- Move poinsettias to the landscape on warm days and apply a slow release fertilizer.
- Begin landscape tree, shrub and flower feedings if needed for growth and foliage color.
- Feed container gardens every other week or use a slow release fertilizer.
- Start seeds of warm season annuals and long-lasting perennials.
- Add a majority of hardy drought tolerant plants to the landscape.
- Maintain a mulch around trees starting a foot from the trunks; six inches from shrubs.
- Prepare new flower beds; add organic matter to sandy soil.
- Replant declining container gardens.

Foliage and house plant care:

- Use late winter sales to add new foliage plants to the home & office.
- Make sure new plant are set in the proper light level.
- Check previous plant additions for mites and insects.
- Wash off plant pests with a soapy solution or spray with an insecticidal soap as instructed.
- Groom indoor foliage to remove old leaves, faded flowers and declining portions.
- Give Christmas and holiday cactus a bright spot in the home; water when they start to dry.
- Remove faded flowers and stalks from forced amaryllis bulbs; add the bulbs to the garden.
- Feed all container plantings.

February 2017 Plantings

Flowers: Alyssum, aster, baby's breath, bacopa, begonia, candytuft, carnation, calendula, coneflower, coreopsis, cosmos, dahlia, delphinium, dianthus, diascia, dichondra, dusty miller, false heather, four o'clock, gaillardia, gaura, gazania, geranium, gerbera, Johnny-jump-up, lobelia, million bells, nasturtium, pansy, petunia, rose, salvia, snapdragon, Stokes aster, sweet pea, and yarrow.

Vegetables: Plant through mid-month; beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collards, endive, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, peas, potatoes, radishes, Swiss chard and turnips. After mid-month plant; beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, luffa, peppers, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes and watermelon.

Herbs: anise, basil, borage, chives, dill, fennel, lemon balm, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram, tarragon, and thyme.

Bulbs: African iris, amaryllis, Amazon lily, Asiatic lily, blackberry lily, blood lily, bulbine, caladium, canna, crinum, day lily, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, Louisiana iris, society garlic, spider lily, rain lily.


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