Lower South

January, 2009
Regional Report

Put Vegetable Garden to Bed

Remove spent garden vegetables and discard them in the compost pile. Rototill compost, leaves, or manure into the soil to allow it to decompose over the winter. Cover areas not to be planted this winter with a thick blanket of leaves or other organic mulch materials. This will protect the soil over the winter and in spring the leaves can be pulled off the row for planting.

Complete Tulip and Hyacinth Planting

Don't forget those tulip and hyacinth bulbs you have stored in the refrigerator. They should be planted by early January for best results. These are usually one-season performers in the South, so plan on reworking the beds in spring to plant summer color.

Sharpen Pruners

Pruning season is upon us. Take time to sharpen and oil your pruning tools prior to using them. Dull tools make ragged cuts that don't heal as fast and are much more difficult to use. Consider purchasing some new, quality pruners if your current tools are not up to par. Inexpensive pruning tools usually don't last and can be difficult and frustrating to use.

Sow Seeds Indoors

Sow warm-season annual flower and vegetables seeds in mid to late January for March transplanting out into the garden. This will give you a head start on the spring garden and save money on transplants. Place trays in a warm location such as the top of a refrigerator for rapid germination. When seedlings emerge, move them near a bright window.

Topdress Landscape Beds

Winter is a good time to add compost or decomposed manure as a surface mulch around trees and shrubs. By the time spring rains arrive, these materials will be in place and ready to release nutrients to the plants' roots.

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