Middle South

February, 2004
Regional Report

Weed Crocus Beds

Do you have a planting of crocus or other little bulbs along a walkway or beneath a dogwood? They will peek through to the surface soon, and the display will look best if it's free of weeds. After weeding, mulch the area with shredded leaves, bark, or another fine-textured mulch.

Force Chives

Dormant chives planted in a pot and brought indoors will explode with fresh new growth within days, offering the first taste of spring. Keep them in a sunny, south-facing window, and move them outdoors when the weather is warm and sunny. Bring the pot back in when hard freezes are predicted.

Clean Up Spinach and Parsley

Clip yellow or freeze-damaged leaves from overwintered spinach and parsley, and then douse the plants with a water-soluble fertilizer. They should then make excellent new growth. Leaves that grow from overwintered plants in early spring are remarkably crisp and sweet.

Prune Fruits

Begin your fruit pruning with grapes if you have them, and then move on to peaches, plums, and apples. I like to prune tree fruits late, after the buds have begun to swell, because bud-bearing stems make fine cut flowers when forced into bloom indoors.

Dig New Beds

Whenever the soil is dry enough to work, use a spade or digging fork to deeply dig new beds. Mix in as much organic matter as you can find, along with pelleted lime if your soil is naturally acidic. Also dig and amend established beds where you plan to grow annual flowers.

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