Garden and Landscape Editor Steve Montgomery Gives Us A Heads Up with His Thorough Winter ‘To Do List.’
Time flies when we’re having fun, doesn’t it? It seems though, that the older I get, that time keeps flying whether I am having fun or not! There doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done. With that in mind, I’m giving you a list of the many things that could and should be done to your garden over the next three months. Most people think that the “things to do” list slows down in the winter and to some degree, it does. However, now is the time to get moving on a number of tasks to get the jump on Spring that, as time flies, is not that far away. In my opinion, everyone should have a garden, even a small one, like a few planters or pots on a deck that produces some vegetables, fruit and herbs. It not only gives you great tasting food and makes your space more beautiful, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment that you grew something that can actually sustain you and others. It doesn’t go without some pre-planning and some good old hard work, but it sure is very gratifying to be able to do this.
Adding ornamentals to your garden gives a sense of pure pleasure with their amazing colorful flowers and leaf varying textures. One of the reasons I’ve been in this business for so long is the incredible amount of variety in the plants that God created for this earth we live on. It is truly beyond measure. I have been in this business for 36 years now and still come across new plants that I had no idea existed. The different colors and growth habits are amazing and quite humbling.
So here is a short list of some of the more important things I recommend you do to help you have a more successful year of growing your own food and enjoying the pleasure of ornamental plants.
There’s more to do in the garden in January than you might think!
-Test your soil for its PH level. You can contact the local cooperative extension office for a soil test kit. Then depending on the results, you can apply the right amount of fertilizer, Sulphur and Lime.
-Test your seeds to make sure they are good. Do this by germinating just a few so that you won’t be disappointed if they’re no good in the garden.
-If you don’t have a garden yet, make one. Now is the time to start setting it up.
-Prep your garden by spreading manure or-compost and working it into the existing soil.
– Try to repurpose things for trellises, stakes and other items to help functionally and aesthetically. Be creative!
-This is a perfect time for planting all trees and many shrubs like Camellia etc., Don’t forget to water as needed.
– Plant hardy vegetables and cool-season crops such as lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, spinach and much more.
– Start warm season vegetables indoors.
– Let ice on the plants melt naturally, trying to remove it frozen may damage the plants.
– Make successive plantings of the plants you want more of so you can continue to harvest for a longer period of time.
– Sharpen all your gardening tools as needed.
– Change the oil in your 4 stroke engine equipment and perform the usual maintenance.
– Refrigerated bulbs can be planted now in prepped beds. Add a layer of mulch over the top for protection.
– Plant cool season annuals like Carnations, Pansies, Petunias etc.
– Fertilize your established fruit trees and plant new dormant ones.
– Light pruning on ornamental trees and shrubs is fine now. Fertilize.
– Check for insect and disease on all plants and treat early if detected.
– Prune dormant fruit trees as needed.
– Check fencing and wraps to make sure everything is as it should be.
– This can be done anytime, but building or buying cold frames will help get your tender plants get a head start.
Mulch, mulch, mulch. Prune. Deadhead. Plant. Fertilize. Start seeds.
– Feed birds. The natural supplies of seed etc. has or is running out, so supplementing some seeds for them is a great idea. Plus, you get to see many of the types of birds in your area.
– Clean and weed annual and perennial beds and add compost.
– Mulching all beds is a good idea this month as it helps control weeds, keeps moisture around the plant and makes the garden look nicer.
– Pre-emerge your beds with a granular pre-emergent herbicide found at the big box stores or any of the feed and seed stores to control the weeds that are about to come. Be careful not to apply this where perennials will be emerging soon as it can influence their growth.
– Bulbs can still be planted.
– Deadhead any blooming annuals from plants, like pansies, as needed. Deadheading is the removal of the old flowers that have finished their performance.
– Divide and re-plant crowded herbs and perennials just after they emerge.
– Fertilize spring blooming bulbs.
– Finish any tree and shrub planting and fertilize.
– Fertilize established fruit trees.
– Look at pruning again if needed. Wait to prune any spring blooming shrubs like Azaleas until after they bloom.
– Prune your roses for sure, and fertilize.
– Plant more cool-season vegetables.
– Plant Irish potatoes 3” deep.
– Plant Asparagus.
– Mulch strawberries.
– Start seed boxes indoors if you haven’t yet.
– Apply pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn if you are not going to seed.
Spring is right around the corner, add more mulch. Ready. Set. Go!
– Continue planting hardy vegetables like turnips, radishes, spring onions, etc.
– Side dress beds with compost.
– Water if there has been limited rain, especially for new transplants and plants.
– Plant bulbs like Canna, Dahlia, etc., more summer flowering types.
– Keep a look out for insects like Aphids and disease issues, treat with a soapy spray and/or an insecticidal soap.
– Continue to deadhead annuals as they are really taking off now and this will promote more blooms.
– Continue pruning as needed.
– Fertilize your lawn with the right type of fertilizer, check with the people you purchase.
– Seed your fescue lawn and water a lot to make it come up quicker. Do not pre-emerge it as it will stop the seed from germinating. If you haven’t already done it, do pre-emergence if you are not seeding your lawn.
– Think about adding more mulch.
– Add supports for the plants that require them before the plants start getting big. This makes it much easier to do.
– Watch for slugs.
– Deadhead Hydrangeas.
So much for the ‘things to do list’ slowing down in winter! With some planning and preparation during this time of year, you’ll soon be enjoying the fruits of your labor. ACLM
Steve Montgomery and Company has extensive knowledge in the areas of landscape, hardscape, construction of outdoor structures, water features and pools.
Steve Montgomery and Company.
Phone: 404-966-8283 or 770-317-1484