Make your flower and vegetable garden plans now before the rush of spring planting. Time spent in armchair gardening before the fireplace will pay off in improved plant selection and a great garden next spring. Besides, it\'s fun to page through the catalogs. Place your orders early for best selection and so you will be ready next month to start sowing plants for spring.
Check Soil Moisture
Evergreen trees and shrubs continue to use moisture during our mild winters here in the South. If it has not rained in a couple of weeks in your area, check the soil around these plants to be sure they're not drying out. This is especially important for recent transplants, which lack an extensive root system. Even with adequate rainfall, plants located under roof overhangs where rain doesn't reach can need watering.
Now\'s the time to plant the tulip bulbs outdoors that you have been chilling in the refrigerator. For best results they should be planted soon after removing them from the refrigerator. Prime planting time in the lower South is late December or early January. Once they are planted, keep them well watered, and in a few months you\'ll be rewarded with spring.
Spray Dormant Oil
Warm, calm days are a good time to apply a dormant oil spray to control scale and certain other overwintering insect pests on deciduous fruit trees. Thorough coverage is important for effective pest control. Follow instructions on the label to avoid damage to the plant. Do not apply dormant oil sprays within 48 hours of a freeze.
Fertilize Bedding Plants
Lightly apply fertilizer to established beds of winter- flowering annuals such as snapdragon, calendula, pansy, stock, and alyssum. During these cold months nutrients are a bit less available to plants. Plus, those flowers are blooming up a storm and could use a little extra nutrition to keep them going.