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Despite its beauty, honeysuckle is a weed

Q: I hate honeysuckle. It invades everything from anise to camellias.
Mark Mauldin, email

A: I share your dislike. Despite the sweet scent of its spring flowers, this vine grows vigorously in places where it’s not wanted. I think your best bet would be to first pull as much honeysuckle off your shrubs as you can. This goes more smoothly if you have a buddy who can clip as you tug. Next, crawl under the affected shrubs and clip the honeysuckle vine where it emerges from the ground. The stems have a distinct reddish color. Spray each freshly cut vine stump immediately with glyphosate (Roundup, etc). The vine stumps will absorb the chemical and will not sprout again.

Q: Is it too late for blueberry pruning?
Ken Turner, Smyrna

A: You can prune blueberries anytime between late fall and late winter. Actually, they require little pruning until they reach four to six feet in height. At this point, start a cane-renewal pruning program. Remove one to three of the largest canes each winter, cutting at six to 24 inches from ground level or a total of about 20 percent of the canopy. Over a period of five years the bush will be totally renewed. New, more productive canes will sprout from the old canes and even more will sprout from below ground level. In addition, very tall canes can be pruned back to six feet each winter.

Q: We planted arborvitae outside of our sun room but now we’ve decided to go another route. Can we move them to another location now when it’s cold?
John Burkett, East Tennessee

A: It is very hard to transplant an arborvitae successfully from one spot to another unless it is very small. They are very sensitive to dry roots and summertime heat. You must bring along much of the existing root ball in order for the tree to survive hot weather. If your arborvitaes are more than three feet tall, I wouldn’t bother trying to move them.

Q: During the last snow storm one of our cherrylaurel trees fell over. The weight pulled up half of the root ball but did not damage 75-80 percent of the roots. I used ropes and pulleys to bring it upright and covered the roots with new soil. To keep it upright, I attached three spring-loaded cables. But now I see that some of the top leaves are turning brown. What can I do to help the tree recover?
Roland Kort, Alpharetta

A: My guess about the brown leaves is that when the tree fell there was enough damage to the root system to interrupt moisture going to the top of the tree. I predict you’ll continue to have brown leaves, particularly if the summer is dry. There is not much you can do to speed up root recovery. A light application of fertilizer in spring, plus water when the soil is dry and mulch to keep the soil cool, is the best you can do. Keep the cable support system in place for at least ten years. It will take that long for new anchor roots to grow. You might be better off to replace this tree with a new one in the same spot.



Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for more garden tips


Article source: http://www.myajc.com/lifestyles/home--garden/despite-its-beauty-honeysuckle-weed/B6zDsOISL9hZuTgrKdPQZL/

5 garden tips for this week, Feb. 10-16

1 Timely suggestion

This week has Valentine’s Day, so here’s a friendly reminder to share your love, not only with chocolates but with produce from your garden. And, just for the fun of it, look around your yard for the annual weed that I always call the “I-Love-You Plant.” It has low, feather-like leaves close to the ground and wiry, upright, 20-inch flower spikes sporting lots of seed capsules that look like little hearts.

To me, it’s amazing that this plant only grows around Valentine’s Day. The real name is shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), and it is a member of the mustard family — with edible leaves when young, good raw in salads or cooked as greens. But all those little seed capsules are truly heart-warming.

2 Feeding time

Feed camellias, azaleas, gardenias, roses and other shrubbery. All plants require nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for growth — listed on the plant food label as a three-number formula showing the percentage of each element by weight.

In general, nitrogen promotes leaf development, while phosphorus develops roots, flowers, fruits and seeds, and potassium permits plants to make optimal use of these nutrients and other minerals. Flowering and fruiting plants need a fertilizer blend with a higher percentage of phosphorus, while green shrubbery needs less phosphorus but a higher amount of nitrogen.

3 Juicy fruit

Strawberry season is here at last. Picking the ripest ones every day or two will prolong the harvest season. Don’t let them spoil on the plant, or your plants will stop producing early.

Remember to feed periodically with balanced plant food to encourage growth, flowers and fruit. Oh, and maybe you can create your own chocolate-dipped strawberries for an extra fun and happy Valentine’s Day.

4 Citrus nutrition

In Inland areas — and elsewhere if not done already — apply the first of four annual feedings for mature citrus trees this week. Subsequent feedings should be done about six weeks later — in late March, mid-May, and late June. Each feeding should contain about a half pound of actual nitrogen.

Here’s the formula to figure out how much to use, based on the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer (I use 16-16-16 fertilizer, which has 16 percent nitrogen plus other ingredients): actual nitrogen needed (1/2 pound) divided by percent of nitrogen in plant food (16/100) x 2 cups per pound. So that’s [(0.5/.16) x 2], which equals 6 1/4 cups of 16-16-16 fertilizer per mature tree each time I feed. For other types of fertilizer, just enter the percentage of nitrogen into the formula to find how many cups of plant food you should apply, and use this number each time you feed your trees.

5 Clean sweep

Hate the messy fruits dropped by olive trees, or those stickery seed balls on liquidambar or sycamore? Ethephon (Florel Fruit Eliminator), a natural plant hormone, prevents the formation of unwanted fruit on just about any leafy ornamental tree.

Sprayed at blossom time, it works on carob, carrotwood, elm, maple, oak, pine, podocarpus and more. Purchase from many garden centers and home improvement stores.

Article source: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/11/5-garden-tips-for-this-week-feb-10-16/

Winter Gardening Tips: Starting And Sewing Seeds

There’s a foot of snow on the ground and that’s not even counting where we’ve piled the stuff we’ve shoveled. So you might think you’re off the hook for preparing your garden. But gardening contributor Melinda Myers says you may want to rethink that. If you’re especially motivated to add some non-monetary green to your life, mid-February is not too early to get going. 

There are a couple things gardeners can get started in winter, like seedlings. “If you like the challenge of starting plants from seed, all you really need is a window, some quality potting mixer – seed starter mix – and then some seeds.” 

Myers suggests recycling containers used for yogurt or applesauce, and poking holes in the bottom. She also says you should look at the suggestion for when the plant should be moved outside, to ensure the seedling will be moved at the right time. 

You don’t want the plant to get too large indoors, Myers explains, “[because] then you’ve got these long, leggy plants with weak stems and it’s more of a shock to the plant as you transition it outside.” 

Mid-February is also a great time to start sewing perennial plants, according to Myers. “This time of year, we’re going to start things like perennials, cool season annuals like pansies, calendulas, snap dragons – and we’ll start those now.”

Melinda Myers will be appearing at the Milwaukee NARI Home Improvement Show at various times, February 15-18. 

Article source: http://wuwm.com/post/winter-gardening-tips-starting-and-sewing-seeds

5 garden tips for this week, Feb. 10-16 – Orange County Register

1 Timely suggestion

This week has Valentine’s Day, so here’s a friendly reminder to share your love, not only with chocolates but with produce from your garden. And, just for the fun of it, look around your yard for the annual weed that I always call the “I-Love-You Plant.” It has low, feather-like leaves close to the ground and wiry, upright, 20-inch flower spikes sporting lots of seed capsules that look like little hearts.

To me, it’s amazing that this plant only grows around Valentine’s Day. The real name is shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), and it is a member of the mustard family — with edible leaves when young, good raw in salads or cooked as greens. But all those little seed capsules are truly heart-warming.

2 Feeding time

Feed camellias, azaleas, gardenias, roses and other shrubbery. All plants require nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for growth — listed on the plant food label as a three-number formula showing the percentage of each element by weight.

In general, nitrogen promotes leaf development, while phosphorus develops roots, flowers, fruits and seeds, and potassium permits plants to make optimal use of these nutrients and other minerals. Flowering and fruiting plants need a fertilizer blend with a higher percentage of phosphorus, while green shrubbery needs less phosphorus but a higher amount of nitrogen.

3 Juicy fruit

Strawberry season is here at last. Picking the ripest ones every day or two will prolong the harvest season. Don’t let them spoil on the plant, or your plants will stop producing early.

Remember to feed periodically with balanced plant food to encourage growth, flowers and fruit. Oh, and maybe you can create your own chocolate-dipped strawberries for an extra fun and happy Valentine’s Day.

4 Citrus nutrition

In Inland areas — and elsewhere if not done already — apply the first of four annual feedings for mature citrus trees this week. Subsequent feedings should be done about six weeks later — in late March, mid-May, and late June. Each feeding should contain about a half pound of actual nitrogen.

Here’s the formula to figure out how much to use, based on the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer (I use 16-16-16 fertilizer, which has 16 percent nitrogen plus other ingredients): actual nitrogen needed (1/2 pound) divided by percent of nitrogen in plant food (16/100) x 2 cups per pound. So that’s [(0.5/.16) x 2], which equals 6 1/4 cups of 16-16-16 fertilizer per mature tree each time I feed. For other types of fertilizer, just enter the percentage of nitrogen into the formula to find how many cups of plant food you should apply, and use this number each time you feed your trees.

5 Clean sweep

Hate the messy fruits dropped by olive trees, or those stickery seed balls on liquidambar or sycamore? Ethephon (Florel Fruit Eliminator), a natural plant hormone, prevents the formation of unwanted fruit on just about any leafy ornamental tree.

Sprayed at blossom time, it works on carob, carrotwood, elm, maple, oak, pine, podocarpus and more. Purchase from many garden centers and home improvement stores.

Article source: https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/11/5-garden-tips-for-this-week-feb-10-16/

Garden Tips: Busting fertilizer myths about winterizing, miracle growth – Tri

It really irks me when I see fertilizer advertisements that try to take advantage of gardeners. I feel a need to bust some of the myths that impressionable gardeners may be inclined to believe. Here we go.

MYTH ONE: A simple complete garden fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in a ratio reflected on the label by three numbers, such as 10-6-4 or 16-4-8. These numbers represent the percentage by weight of each of these nutrients contained in the fertilizer. Generally, the first number representing nitrogen is largest because it is required in greater quantities than the other two nutrients and because soils often lack adequate nitrogen for plant growth.

Some companies promote specialized fertilizers with higher levels of specific nutrients above what you would find in a simple complete garden fertilizer. Ones with higher levels of phosphorus (the second number in the ratio) are touted for promoting flowering and are sometimes referred to as “bloom boosters.” Similarly, fertilizers with higher levels of potassium (the third number) are extolled for growing “bigger and more plentiful” tomatoes and other vegetables.

Specialized fertilizers are only needed when the soil contains inadequate levels of a particular plant nutrient. Gardeners should avoid fertilizers that will raise any soil nutrient to levels over and above what is needed for healthy plant growth. These products will not promote greater flowering or bigger tomatoes if adequate levels of those nutrients are already present in the soil.

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Using a specialized fertilizer is a “shot in the dark.” Your money is better spent having your soil tested to determine if any nutrients are at growth-limiting levels. Once you have the results back from the soil testing lab, you will have a better idea of what nutrients are or are not needed and be able to select a fertilizer that best fits your needs. Without a soil test, the value of expensive specialized fertilizers is a myth.

MYTH TWO: Despite “miracle” fertilizers containing vitamin B-1 (thiamine) being marketed for many years to unsuspecting gardeners, there is absolutely no evidence that B-1 decreases transplant shock or promotes root growth. While there are plenty of testimonials that these products perform miracles, repeated research studies have found no evidence that B-1 has any positive effect on plants.

Does this mean that the touted benefits of seaweed or kelp extracts applied to the leaves of plants is also a myth? Actually, research has shown that seaweed extracts do indeed enhance root development, stimulate mineral nutrient uptake from the soil, and improve soil microbial activity. It is also true that seaweed extracts can enhance the growth and yield of fruit and vegetable crops.

MYTH THREE: Lawn fertilizer companies continue to market “winterizing” fertilizers that are formulated with higher levels of potassium to decrease the potential of damage to the grass plants from severely cold winter temperatures. Research has not shown that these winterizing formulas provide any protection from winter damage to cool season turf grasses like those found in local lawns. In fact, one study shows that they may make lawns more vulnerable to damage from snow mold.

Now that you know the truth, I feel much better. I recommend that you have your soil tested before buying any fertilizer for your yard or garden. There are several regional labs that will test garden soil for you. Northwest Agricultural Consultants (509-783-5305) is located in Kennewick, Cascade Analytical (800-545-4206) in Yakima, and US Ag Analytical Service (509-547-3838) in Pasco. Give them a call to find out how to properly collect and submit a sample.

Marianne C. Ophardt is a retired horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

Article source: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/living/home-garden/marianne-ophardt/article199689584.html

5 garden tips for this week, Feb. 3-9

1 For trees, thin is in

Plan to thin out heavy growth on large trees — if they survived our recent winds. Don’t just butcher the tree tops, but actually thin out some of the denser leaf-laden branches so the winds can flow through the trees instead of breaking off major branches or toppling entire trees.

2 Camellia care

Camellias do not require much pruning, but they may be trimmed to maintain shape. Do this as flowers fade, but before new growth emerges. Cut extra-long, out-of-place, or other offending branches back to the growth ring scars that mark the start of previous years’ stems. Feed after pruning: new shoots that grow this spring and summer will form next year’s flower buds.

3 Pruning time

Remember: rose leaves that make it through the winter get more diseases, and the diseases start earlier in the season then move to newer leaves and to other plants. So, if you haven’t pruned your roses, do so this weekend. And be sure to remove all the old rose leaves in order to have healthier plants and prettier roses this spring and summer.

4 Avocado tip

Watch your avocado trees to see when they start blooming. They will only set fruit if night temperatures remain above 58 degrees F during flowering time. If night temperatures dip below 58 degrees when the avocado flowers, the best way to get some fruit is to spray the blooms and leaf canopy at night with water — just plain water. It acts as insulation against the cold so the Avocado Matchmaker can do her job.

5 Cut back

Prune plumerias if they have become too big for their space. Use the trimmings to start new plants for yourself or for friends. Trimmings are easy to root after air-drying them for two to four weeks in a protected, well-ventilated spot out of direct sunlight. Air-drying permits the cut ends to heal over and prevents rotting when planted after a few weeks. Then plant several inches of the stems, healed end down, directly in the ground or in an airy soil mixture in containers. They will slowly root and start growing in spring – maybe even develop some flowers this summer.

Article source: https://www.whittierdailynews.com/2018/02/02/5-garden-tips-for-this-week-feb-3-9/

This week’s gardening tips: plant caladium tubers indoors, harvest parsley

Cool-season color for a partly shaded area: The best choices are cyclamen, primroses, pansy, viola, nicotiana, lobelia, foxglove, columbine and forget-me-not.

Article source: http://www.nola.com/homegarden/index.ssf/2018/02/this_week.html

This winter has been unusually warm. Here are garden tips if we get another freeze.

We’ve had some beautiful weather this winter, making up for last winter’s long-lasting snow blanket and choking inversions.

But it’s created some challenges for gardeners, such as early growth — right now, snowdrops and winter aconite are in bloom in my shade garden, and hellebores and trilliums are poking their heads above the surface too.

I confess I’ve been starting alliums and brassicas in the greenhouse, as well as some peppers. It may be too early, but it certainly brightens my mood. If you planted lettuce seeds Thanksgiving, as many do, you might be seeing tiny seedlings ready to grow up. Some old-timers will tell you not to store the longjohns just yet, for we’ll have more cold weather before spring arrives. It doesn’t look like that’s coming, though, with long-range forecasts seeing relatively mild temperatures.

If you fertilized your lawn in November and/or December, it’s greening up now. In past years we’ve had to mow in April; this year, we might be starting in March.

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more.

Budding trees

What about the rest of the yard?

If you have non-fruit trees already budding out, don’t worry — a freeze will not prevent their leafing out.

Many trees will flower, and if those flowering buds are destroyed, that will just mean fewer seeds will drop and folks who usually suffer from spring allergies will breathe easier. Some trees afflicted with disease drop their leaves and refoliate a few times during the growing season.

Fruit trees are another matter. In Idaho, a lot of the state’s revenue and agricultural product is tied to fruit production.

If trees begin to bud and show color and then we have a frost or freeze, what happens? The low temperature will affect fruit tree buds, depending on how low the temperature drops, for how long and how far advanced the bud blossoms are. For instance, 10 percent of apple blossoms in “full pink” will be killed by temperatures of 28 degrees F., if that temperature lasts 30 minutes. But 90 percent of them will be killed by a temperature of 25 degrees F. If the buds are still green instead of blooming, 90 percent of the buds will survive temperatures down to 23 degrees F. for that period of time.

If you’ve grown apples, you may have noticed that the blossoms occur in clusters, one blossom larger than the others, and the blossoms opening at different times. Orchardists call this large blossom the “king” blossom. Since all of the blossoms do not open on the same day, those later-opening blossoms may become the apple-producing survivors of the season.

Different fruit buds tolerate different cold temperatures, too, according to compilations gathered by extension specialists at Washington State University and Michigan State University. In full bloom, 90 percent of blossoms of apricots, peaches and plums survive a half hour of 27 degrees F., while sweet and tart cherries are slightly hardier, surviving 28 degrees F. If buds are just beginning to swell, they’ll survive much colder temperatures, into the teens.

What can you do for your fruit tree if frost is in the forecast?

We used to be able to hang Christmas lights in fruit trees to keep buds, flowers or tiny fruits warm, but those modern lights have no heat. If the forecast frost is to be a light one, accompanied by wind or breezes, that is the best scenario. You could set up a fan to move the air in your fruit tree or spray it with water to freeze around the buds. As the water thaws in warming sunshine, the thawing effect of water raises the temperature a little. Or you could try covering the tree, although if the tree is large, that’s a difficult operation. If you can cover and install at least a regular light bulb under the cover, it could warm enough of the tree to preserve at least part of a harvest. YouTube has plenty of options for preventing freeze damage.

Gauging temperatures

One thing to keep in mind is that temperature forecasts and reports occurs at a gauge about 5 feet above the surface of the soil. Since cold falls, the temperature at ground level will be colder than forecast or reported. One study showed a 6-degree drop from thermometer to soil surface. Most of the temperatures forecast or reported are for a certain length of time, too. A shaft of cold air “kissing” squash plants in my garden killed leaves last year, although the reported temperature was 38 degrees F.

As far as bulbs are concerned, they’re encased in natural antifreeze, and will not suffer in freezes. If your daffodils are in bloom, a temperature of 15 degrees F. will cause flowers to droop, and they’ll never overcome that. Pick them for use in a vase before that cold temperature. But don’t mix them with other flowers — daffodils are in the narcissus family and so exude a sap that clog the stems of other flowers.

Other tips

▪  Roses should be OK, but don’t start pruning them until forsythia blooms. If you’re eager for spring, cut some forsythia twigs and put them in a vase of warm, almost hot, water. Change the water each day, and they’ll bloom indoors earlier than outdoors.

▪  Don’t forget to prune your grapevines this month. If you wait, they’ll bleed sap and, although it’s not a fatal problem, it’s messy.

▪  Planting onion seeds, sets or seedlings now is a gamble, because if the weather turns cold then warm again, they may go to flower and seed, ruining the bulb for culinary use. Other biennial plants may also go to seed in similar conditions.

▪  We’ll have enough water for this coming year, according to hydrologists at the Natural Resources Conservation Service, because we have an abundance of stored water in reservoirs even though the current snowpack in the mountains is less than normal. Researchers will continue measuring until April, and late February and March usually see more abundant precipitation.

Of course frost tender crops such as corn, tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, melons, squash and eggplant should not be sowed until the soil temperature is 60 degrees F.

When starting seeds indoors, we usually try to heat the planting soil for all seeds, but not all seeds germinate in high temperatures. Seeds for many crops such as lettuce, parsnips and spinach won’t germinate if the temperature is too high. I have my heat mat set to 80 degrees for peppers and eggplant that I’m germinating now, but must wait until later to re-heat it for tomatoes, basil and tomatillos. They shouldn’t be started until close to transplant time. Setting them out in mid-May to June 1 usually works best.

Most brassicas or cole crops such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collars, kale, and kohlrabi shrug off frosty weather, so they may be transplanted into the garden at this time. If we have a hard freeze forecast, a floating cover usually protect the plants. These are all easily germinated indoors at room temperature.

Send garden questions to melauter@earthlink.net or Gardening, The Statesman, P.O. Box 40, Boise, ID 83707.

Worried about the mild weather?

Margaret will answer questions you have about this mild winter and your garden. Send garden questions to melauter@earthlink.net.

Article source: http://www.idahostatesman.com/living/home-garden/margaret-lauterbach/article199420174.html

This winter has been unusually warm and dry. Here are garden tips if we get another freeze.

We’ve had some beautiful weather this winter, making up for last winter’s long-lasting snow blanket and choking inversions.

But it’s created some challenges for gardeners, such as early growth — right now, snowdrops and winter aconite are in bloom in my shade garden, and hellebores and trilliums are poking their heads above the surface too.

I confess I’ve been starting alliums and brassicas in the greenhouse, as well as some peppers. It may be too early, but it certainly brightens my mood. If you planted lettuce seeds Thanksgiving, as many do, you might be seeing tiny seedlings ready to grow up. Some old-timers will tell you not to store the longjohns just yet, for we’ll have more cold weather before spring arrives. It doesn’t look like that’s coming, though, with long-range forecasts seeing relatively mild temperatures.

If you fertilized your lawn in November and/or December, it’s greening up now. In past years we’ve had to mow in April; this year, we might be starting in March.

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more.

Budding trees

What about the rest of the yard?

If you have non-fruit trees already budding out, don’t worry — a freeze will not prevent their leafing out.

Many trees will flower, and if those flowering buds are destroyed, that will just mean fewer seeds will drop and folks who usually suffer from spring allergies will breathe easier. Some trees afflicted with disease drop their leaves and refoliate a few times during the growing season.

Fruit trees are another matter. In Idaho, a lot of the state’s revenue and agricultural product is tied to fruit production.

If trees begin to bud and show color and then we have a frost or freeze, what happens? The low temperature will affect fruit tree buds, depending on how low the temperature drops, for how long and how far advanced the bud blossoms are. For instance, 10 percent of apple blossoms in “full pink” will be killed by temperatures of 28 degrees F., if that temperature lasts 30 minutes. But 90 percent of them will be killed by a temperature of 25 degrees F. If the buds are still green instead of blooming, 90 percent of the buds will survive temperatures down to 23 degrees F. for that period of time.

If you’ve grown apples, you may have noticed that the blossoms occur in clusters, one blossom larger than the others, and the blossoms opening at different times. Orchardists call this large blossom the “king” blossom. Since all of the blossoms do not open on the same day, those later-opening blossoms may become the apple-producing survivors of the season.

Different fruit buds tolerate different cold temperatures, too, according to compilations gathered by extension specialists at Washington State University and Michigan State University. In full bloom, 90 percent of blossoms of apricots, peaches and plums survive a half hour of 27 degrees F., while sweet and tart cherries are slightly hardier, surviving 28 degrees F. If buds are just beginning to swell, they’ll survive much colder temperatures, into the teens.

What can you do for your fruit tree if frost is in the forecast?

We used to be able to hang Christmas lights in fruit trees to keep buds, flowers or tiny fruits warm, but those modern lights have no heat. If the forecast frost is to be a light one, accompanied by wind or breezes, that is the best scenario. You could set up a fan to move the air in your fruit tree or spray it with water to freeze around the buds. As the water thaws in warming sunshine, the thawing effect of water raises the temperature a little. Or you could try covering the tree, although if the tree is large, that’s a difficult operation. If you can cover and install at least a regular light bulb under the cover, it could warm enough of the tree to preserve at least part of a harvest. YouTube has plenty of options for preventing freeze damage.

Gauging temperatures

One thing to keep in mind is that temperature forecasts and reports occurs at a gauge about 5 feet above the surface of the soil. Since cold falls, the temperature at ground level will be colder than forecast or reported. One study showed a 6-degree drop from thermometer to soil surface. Most of the temperatures forecast or reported are for a certain length of time, too. A shaft of cold air “kissing” squash plants in my garden killed leaves last year, although the reported temperature was 38 degrees F.

As far as bulbs are concerned, they’re encased in natural antifreeze, and will not suffer in freezes. If your daffodils are in bloom, a temperature of 15 degrees F. will cause flowers to droop, and they’ll never overcome that. Pick them for use in a vase before that cold temperature. But don’t mix them with other flowers — daffodils are in the narcissus family and so exude a sap that clog the stems of other flowers.

Other tips

▪  Roses should be OK, but don’t start pruning them until forsythia blooms. If you’re eager for spring, cut some forsythia twigs and put them in a vase of warm, almost hot, water. Change the water each day, and they’ll bloom indoors earlier than outdoors.

▪  Don’t forget to prune your grapevines this month. If you wait, they’ll bleed sap and, although it’s not a fatal problem, it’s messy.

▪  Planting onion seeds, sets or seedlings now is a gamble, because if the weather turns cold then warm again, they may go to flower and seed, ruining the bulb for culinary use. Other biennial plants may also go to seed in similar conditions.

▪  We’ll have enough water for this coming year, according to hydrologists at the Natural Resources Conservation Service, because we have an abundance of stored water in reservoirs even though the current snowpack in the mountains is less than normal. Researchers will continue measuring until April, and late February and March usually see more abundant precipitation.

Of course frost tender crops such as corn, tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, melons, squash and eggplant should not be sowed until the soil temperature is 60 degrees F.

When starting seeds indoors, we usually try to heat the planting soil for all seeds, but not all seeds germinate in high temperatures. Seeds for many crops such as lettuce, parsnips and spinach won’t germinate if the temperature is too high. I have my heat mat set to 80 degrees for peppers and eggplant that I’m germinating now, but must wait until later to re-heat it for tomatoes, basil and tomatillos. They shouldn’t be started until close to transplant time. Setting them out in mid-May to June 1 usually works best.

Most brassicas or cole crops such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collars, kale, and kohlrabi shrug off frosty weather, so they may be transplanted into the garden at this time. If we have a hard freeze forecast, a floating cover usually protect the plants. These are all easily germinated indoors at room temperature.

Send garden questions to melauter@earthlink.net or Gardening, The Statesman, P.O. Box 40, Boise, ID 83707.

Worried about the mild weather?

Margaret will answer questions you have about this mild winter and your garden. Send garden questions to melauter@earthlink.net.

Article source: http://www.idahostatesman.com/living/home-garden/margaret-lauterbach/article199420174.html

Gardening, a well needed treat – Visalia Times

The groundhog may have seen its shadow giving us six more weeks of winter, but lately, around Tulare County it’s beginning to feel like spring. 

With the sun shining and 70 degree temperatures headed your way, now might be the perfect time to start working in your garden. 

This year’s gardening trends will not only keep your yard looking beautiful but will spark relaxation, add a break from the chaos we all call life and actually help you live a happier and healthier life.

The Home Depot Gardening Club will make you stop and smell the roses in your own garden with this year’s gardening themes. 

Top gardening trends 

Purposeful gardening

This year try planting herbs to use in teas and vegetable to mix in to your every day meals. Also, opt for planting cut flowers such as daisies, sunflowers or dahlias to make bouquets for family and friends. 

Wabi-Sabi

This Japanese inspired trend is allowing gardeners to embrace the imperfection of a garden.  

So, enjoy the moss that grows on rocks in your yard or let wildflowers bloom. 

Extreme weather gardening

More people are opting for a drought tolerant garden and they can be just as beautiful as a typical garden. Succulents are a huge hit. They grow well in the warm climate and don’t need too much maintenance. 

One- pot creations

You may have heard on one pot dinner dishes that are simple yet full of bold flavor. Well, this trend is similar. Gardeners are taking one pot and filling it will multiple plants.

It saves time, is low maintenance and doesn’t take up too much space. 

Wellness gardens 

Gardeners are filling space inside and outside their home with vertical gardens or indoor vines. These help provide a sense of tranquility. 

Gardens are also a good place to meditate and relax from a busy work. 

“Research has shown an association between doing activities in natural environments and health, particularly in relation to stress,” said researcher and landscape architect Ulrika Stigsdotter. “Our ambition is that our nature-based therapy will get the same or better results as the cognitive behavior therapy group. I personally believe the positive effect will last longer.”

Green spaces provide a sanctuary from busy lives, says horticultural therapist Mitchell Hewson. His tips for creating a therapy garden of your own:

  • Include vegetable- and fruit-producing plants — the ability to grow life-sustaining food strengthens feelings of self-sufficiency.
  •  Plant herbs that promote good health, and add fragrance to your surroundings.
  • Choose plants that can be dried and reused in crafts such as sachets or wreaths. You’ll double your enjoyment of the gardening experience.
  • Place a small bench or chair in a shady spot of the garden, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
  •  Commit to spending a few minutes each day in your garden. Even in small doses, the fresh air, vitamin D and moderate exercise is good for you.
  • Make gardens accessible to those with physical limitations by using raised beds.

Upcoming Events:

Springfest 

Visalia is hosting the 25th annual Springfest 2018 on February 9, 10 and 11 at the Visalia Convention Center.

The event will feature more than 350 exhibits for your home and patio. It will have a gardening and landscaping section where you can meet with business or learn about a local club. 

It’ll cost you $5 to get in on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. or Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Spring Field Trip

The Hanford Garden Club is getting ready for their Spring field trip and are seeking any and all green thumbs to join.

This year, the gang will head to Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, Ca. 

The trip will be held on March 24 and 25. A deposit of $25 for the bus and $17 for the Filoli Embassy is due on March 1. If interested contact Larry Wait at 341-2914. 

USA Today reporter, Julia Savacool contributed to this report. 

Article source: http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/sports/outdoors/pathstopeaks/2018/02/09/gardening-well-needed-treat/321790002/