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Sunday, January 30, 2011

January/February Gardening Ideas

This is the time of year we long for Spring. We have endured cold and drab climates and there is very little green outside our windows. Many of us outdoorsy nature types have a touch of cabin fever and long to dig our hands in the earth and grow beautiful flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

So what can we do? On a day that allows, head outdoors and take the time to plan for Spring. Discover opportunities in your landscape that will allow for future planting and identify what it will take to spruce things up. Many beds are filled with fallen leaves and twigs. Take time to clean them up and add compost to prepare the beds for Spring.

In Texas, you can trim out dead branches and clean up roses and tidy up other evergreens. This is also a time to monitor beds for undesired weeds and pull up the ones you do not find interest in. I have my hands full pulling up elm tree seedlings. They are sprinkled all through my beds and if I don't get them now, I'll have a harder time later on. When pulling up clover, leave some behind to decompose and add nitrates to the soil. This is best done prior to allowing the plant to go to seed...otherwise it is not worth it since the seeds would perpetuate the problem.

Valentine's Day is my cue to head outdoors and trim back my rose bushes by 1/3 and to tie back and tame my climbing roses. What I do now will dictate how the roses will perform in Spring. It's a great time to really get in there and work with the roses and pull dead canes since the chances of running into spiders and wasps are slim to none.

Start seedlings indoors in sunny windowsills. Start with sweet peas, lettuce, and green beans. Try growing carrots from seeds and using the carrot tops as "micro greens" for zesting up salads and sandwiches. Trust me...whatever you do...you won't regret it come Spring. So, get out there! Get creative and get growing on laying the foundation to your Spring gardening adventures. Whether you grow seeds, clean up beds, or trim roses - you'll get a sense of satisfaction and feel so glad you did!

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