Upper South

February, 2012
Regional Report

Weed, Mulch, Weed, Mulch, Repeat

Every minute you can spare working in the garden now will yield many times more in satisfaction during the months ahead. Hopefully, you%%%ve already trimmed back last year%%%s spent growth on perennials, making way for the new growth. Even if you can%%%t get ahead of the weeds, try your best to keep up with them, making sure you dig out all roots. Apply a complete fertilizer, then several inches of an organic mulch, such as dark hardwood to your beds and borders. This type of mulch will not only keep soil moisture more even in the months ahead and minimize weed growth, but it will slowly enrich your soil as it decomposes.

Bet On Pansies

With the early spring weather and warm temperatures, it%%%s tempting to begin planting annual flowers. Since the average last frost date for much of our region is early May, that means that planting anything that will be killed by freezing temperatures is taking a gamble. Granted, this year may be a good time to take a chance, but to be on the safe side, why not plant pansies, which will tolerate chilly temperatures and provide lots of color.

Rescue Garden Furniture

Looking for ways to add more color to your garden, to personalize the space, to say nothing of making it easier to enjoy? All without spending a lot of money? The easy and inexpensive answer is to rescue garden furniture with paint. Whether the furniture comes from your own garage, a yard sale, or flea market, a coat of paint will give it a new lease on life. Basic black is always safe, but why not coordinate the furniture with surrounding flowers or new cushions? Choose a contrasting or complementary color. Get tired of a color this year? Change it next spring. Let your creativity run rampant.

Give Fruit a Boost

Fruit production depends on many factors, including weather conditions, both this year and last as well as what type of effort you put into pest control. One factor that is easily affected is fertilizing. Apply a complete fertilizer, ideally one with plenty of potassium, this spring. Mulching after you fertilize will help to maintain even soil moisture around the plants, which, in turn, will help when next year%%%s fruit buds are setting this summer.

Don't Miss Spring

With many trees, shrubs, and flowers blooming at least a month early this year, it%%%s easy to get caught up in a rush to do all the many chores that a garden needs. Before you know it, the daffodils are done blooming and in need of deadheading. Meanwhile, did you take time to really look at them? Or inhale the bewitching scent of hyacinths? Soak in the beauty of the billowing clouds of redbuds in bloom? Spring seems to rush by faster than any other season. Be sure to soak it in.

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