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Playing in the dirt: Sure, it's winter, but eager gardeners can still get busy


Sharon Carrigan

Sharon Carrigan



Sharon Carrigan



Well, hello 2018. Can you believe it? It seems like only last week it was 2017. LOL. 


Now I know what you are going to say: "I'm not going to go out in this weather to garden!" But in our usually mild clime, there will be days when you can go out for a little while at least. And on the days when you can't, I will give you some suggestions for things to do to get ready for those wonderful spring days when you can hardly contain yourself until you are outside. 


Before we get to tips though, here are a few things to put on your calendar: On Tuesday, Feb. 20, classes for the Lowndes County Master Gardener organization begin. Classes are Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1-5 p.m. Call your local Extension Office for registration information. Also, March 1 will be our annual community-wide program, open at no charge to the community. April 14 will be the second annual Lowndes County Master Gardener Plant Sale. We look forward to seeing everyone at all these events. 




In January 


  • Planning -- If cabin fever has you down in the dumps, this is the perfect remedy -- seed catalogs. Yep, an hour of browsing one or more of the myriad seed/garden catalogs will perk you right up. Begin by putting on paper any new things you want to try growing this year. Whether flowers or veggies, or both, you can list all the interesting, beautiful or strange plants that catch your fancy. Also, put on paper where these wonderful things will be planted. Then make out your order for some or all of those new, old, or interesting plants or seeds.  


  • Preparation -- If plants will be going into an already established spot, plan to till or turn the dirt and enrich it with some compost or cow manure. Plan a new spot by marking it off, tilling and enriching before planting. 


  • Equipment -- If you are still bored, this is the time to sharpen mower blades and clean and sharpen hand tools. You might also order new or additional pots and plant labels. Check the condition of sprayers and assess the need for new or additional sprinklers. 


  • Planting -- Set out trees and shrubs. Plant sweet peas, poppies and larkspur. 


  • Fertilizing -- Now through March, fertilize trees and shrubs. Apply lime to lawns if needed. (You can get help with this through the local Extension office.) 


  • Pest control -- Control scale on broad leaf trees with dormant oil. 


  • Pruning -- Trim nandinas. 


  • Mulching -- Mulch lilies with compost. 


    Now, go out and play in the dirt or hit your easy chair with a garden catalog, a pad of paper and a cup of hot cocoa. 


    Sharon Carrigan of Columbus shares monthly gardening tips on behalf of the Lowndes County Master Gardeners program.



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