Upper South

February, 2011
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Snowdrops
Because of the unusually harsh winter this year, the snowdrops that usually start blooming in January waited until February to hit their stride. No matter, the large clump I have by my kitchen steps never fails to bring a smile with their dauntless ability to survive winter's worst. The common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, and the giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, are the most widely grown. They grow about 4 inches tall, with one-half to one-inch nodding white flowers marked with green, with the giant snowdrop having slightly larger flowers and broader leaves. Plant the bulbs in the fall at a depth three times the height of the bulb. Choose a site with full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Bulbs will naturally divide or reseed, eventually forming small clumps. To propagate, lift and divide the clumps just after flowering, replanting immediately. Allow leaves to die back naturally.

Clever Gardening Technique

Determining Soil Moisture
With practice, you'll almost instinctively know when your garden soil is dry enough to prepare or plant. A good way to learn is to scoop up a handful of soil and squeeze, then open your hand. If the soil stays in a tight ball, wait a few more days. However, if you gently poke the soil ball and it breaks apart, it's okay to get gardening. Why is it important to not work wet soil? Because, by doing so, you'll destroy the soil structure, or, in other terms, your soil will more closely resemble brick.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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