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Playing in the dirt: New year, new start

 

Sharon Carrigan

 

 

Should old acquaintances be forgotten? Well, of course not! But how about making some new ones? Did you make any new year's resolutions? Did they include becoming a better gardener or learning from scratch? How about just learning about something you don't know anything about? Do you know how to graft? How about starting plants from seeds? (Not as easy as you might think). How to compost or raise worms, and why you might want to? Well, to find the answers to all these questions and make new friends to boot, why not sign up for the next session of Master Gardener classes? The next session of classes begins Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. at the Lowndes County Extension office at 485 Tom Rose Road. Call the office at 662-328-2111 for an application. See you soon.  

 

Now, for January tips: 

 

  • 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. (Don't go overboard. LOL). 

     

  • Preparation -- If they will be going into an already established spot, plan to till it 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 broadleaf 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 guidelines on behalf of the Lowndes County Master Gardeners.

     

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