Are You Ready to Garden?
Are you ready to garden? Since this is the February-March issue,
this question may seem a bit premature, but it really isn't. This
is a good time of year to take stock of what we have and/or what
we may need to obtain for the upcoming gardening season. A little
planning and work now will allow us more time in the garden when
the time is right for planting.
Garden tools: Examine your tools. Were they cleaned before storage
last fall? If not, take time now to remove caked on soil and inspect
the tools to see if they need to be sharpened, repaired or replaced.
Do your existing tools really do the job you need them to do? If
not, you may want to consider purchasing the tools that will do
Hoses and watering devices: Check yours to make sure they are in
good working order and don't leak. Hoses may need new washers to
keep them from leaking. Clean the nozzles of water wands and lawn
sprinklers to unplug them.
Seeds: If you have seeds left over from last season, now would
be a good time to see if they are still good. Take ten seeds and
place them between two moist paper towels. Keep the paper towels
moist and check every 2 or 3 days to see if the seeds are sprouting.
Different seeds take different amounts of time to germinate; the
seed packet should give this information. If less than 70 percent
of the seeds sprout, consider buying new seed. Do this test now,
so you aren't disappointed later when it is time to plant. Don't
start seeds indoors yet, most won't need to be started until late
March or early April.
Fertilizers and pesticides: If you have fertilizers and pesticides
(weed killers, insecticides and fungicides) left over from last
season, take an inventory of what you have. This will save you from
buying products that you already have on hand. If your pesticides
are several years old, call the manufacturer for information on
whether or not they can still be used. The manufacturer's phone
number can usually be found on the product label. If products are
no longer usable, call local officials to see if there are any household
hazardous waste collections scheduled for your area. Do not dump
these products in the garbage, hold them for an authorized collection.
Plant wish list: Have you been thinking about which plants you
want to add to your garden? This is a great time to thumb through
all those catalogs and make your wish list. With a plan in mind,
you'll be a better shopper when you go to the garden center this
spring. A planned list may keep you from buying a lot of plants
on the spur of the moment; plants that may not be right for your
Compost pile: Go out and check your compost. With the relatively
mild winter we've been having, your pile may still be working. You
can encourage this by turning the pile and keeping it active.
Pruning: Trees and shrubs are dormant at this time and many of
them can be pruned now (a good job for the pleasant winter days
we've been having). Do not prune shrubs that will bloom in spring.
Pruning now will remove flower buds. Do not prune evergreens at
this time either. It is too early. During February and March, you
can prune most deciduous trees as well as shrubs that bloom in summer.
Take advantage of the off-season to get yourself and your garden
prepared for planting time. Work done now will save you time later
when you are ready to really get out and garden.
FebruaryMarch 2000: Are
You Ready To Garden? | Pros & Cons
Of Snow | Color In The Flower Garden
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