BY KIM HUGHES –
Happy New Year, and let us hope we will have a great growing season in 2016! Our December was much kinder and gentler than last year, so let us hope that trend continues in January and February. The warmer than normal December had some plants confused and we had a few spring blooming plants thinking spring was already here. We saw some unexpected blooms on iris, daylilies and a few tulip magnolias. Hopefully they have now gone back to sleep and will be ready for bloom next spring.
If you still have spring blooming bulbs that you haven’t planted, do so soon. Remember they need at least 12 weeks of cold weather to break dormancy and perform at their best. If you already see spring bulb foliage up and growing from earlier plantings, don’t worry, but do leave the foliage alone. That is the only set of leaves those bulbs contain and you don’t want to damage it.
On mild days, fertilize your pansies and violas and other winter annuals. On days below freezing, plant tissue will freeze and they will be brittle, but if you leave them alone they will defrost and keep on growing.
Winter vegetables are doing nicely – from winter greens to broccoli, cabbage, bok choy and more. In mild winters they can grow unprotected with no damage, but if temperatures are going to drop below 28 a light covering will help protect them. An inverted plant pot, cardboard box or a small covering will do the trick.
Winter weeds are really doing well with the mild December we just had. Try to keep them cut back with a lawnmower or weed eater. If you just have a few, hand-pull or use a hoe to eradicate. If your yard is covered, consider using a broadleaf weed killer soon.
If the layer of leaves is minimal, consider just mowing and mulching them in place. Leaves can be shredded and used as mulch or added to a compost pile. Leaving your lawn covered with a heavy layer all winter can smother it out.
Article is from www.uaex.edu – yard & garden link, by Janet Carson. Go to this Extension Service website for more gardening information.