Follow these tips to plan ahead for upcoming gardening season
Posted: February 22, 2016
Even though winter can linger, and February’s weather can be brutal, there are signs this season is coming to a close. With all these passings, we can start to plan and be more active in the pursuit of home gardening. Here are some early season tips to guide you.
- Indoor houseplants: It’s easy to overlook these, as they have been sitting on a shelf and you pass by them constantly, but they still need care. Check to make sure they aren’t root bound and re-pot as necessary. They can be moved to a sunny location now that the days are longer, but be careful to avoid placing them in a draft.
- Bulbs: You should check on the condition of the tender bulbs you dug up and stored for the winter. Signs that they did not survive are softness, shriveling, and rot. For the health of other bulbs, discard anything showing these symptoms.
- Seed packets: Do you save your own from years past? Or, are you looking to get a fresh supply? Take inventory now, and order early. This way you can purchase what you want before things sell out. If you start seeds indoors, refresh yourself with days to germination, light, soil, and moisture conditions. Make sure all your equipment is sanitized.
- Plans: Now is a good time to plan your landscape and garden. Make notes of what you remember what flourished and what plants struggled. Important too, is know your USDA hardiness zone. In our area, there are many microclimates. The USDA has an online tool to help you find suitable plants for your garden, and it is based on your zipcode. Check it out at : http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov.
- Plants: check your hardy perennials, trees, and shrubs for winter and storm damage. Prune any injured limbs to avoid disease any further damage. And, most people don’t think of their lawn as a plant, but it is, and needs care even in the winter. If you haven’t had a soil test recently, spring is one fo the best times to amend your turf. Soil test kits are available for purchase in our office. The test will give the best treatment recommendations for your soil and save you money.
The Penn State Master Gardeners have plenty of free information on any of the above topics. Plus, we will be having a training, if you are interested in becoming a master gardener. The classes begin March 8, are help on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Contact us at 570-963-6842 or email: LackawannaMG@psu.edu for more information.
Steve Ward-Master Gardener Coordinator in Lackawanna County.