Gardening This Weekend: February 28, 2019
My wife bemoans winter. Not so much the cold weather as the short days. She points out how long it’s staying light in the evenings now, and she’s happier than ever. That gives us all more time to garden, assuming the weather cooperates. So here are your tasks for the next several days.
• Leafy and root vegetables in northern half of state (where there still is more than a 50-50 chance of a freeze or frost, even after this current cold spell). South Texas gardeners (who face a much lower chance of a late-winter frost) can soon begin to plant beans, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, corn and other warm-season vegetables once the soil warms up. Check your 14-day forecast before taking the plunge. I suspect you’ve already learned that lesson this week!
• Cool-season annual color such as petunias, alyssum, stocks and ornamental Swiss chard to decorate late-winter, early spring gardens.
• Nursery stock as you see types you’re been wanting. Early-spring arrivals are typically larger plants that have been in their containers for a period of time. It’s a great time to buy. Watch, too, for spring-blooming shrubs that often are only sold at the time that they’re flowering. Get ‘em when you see them.
• Spring-flowering shrubs and vines as needed to correct erratic growth immediately after they finish blooming.
• Finish pruning, reshaping evergreen shrubs immediately, before they invest a lot of effort in new spring growth. Avoid formal shearing whenever possible.
• Scalp lawn to remove winter-killed stubble and many of the vigorous broadleafed weeds. See related story last week.
• Rye and fescue turf with all-nitrogen fertilizer to maximize spring green-up. Wait several weeks to fertilize St. Augustine and bermuda.
• Groundcover beds with all-nitrogen lawn fertilizer with a significant percentage of that nitrogen in slow-release form. Early feeding will maximize burst of spring growth.
• New annual flower and vegetable transplants with high-nitrogen, liquid fertilizer weekly to get them established and growing.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Aphids congregating on tender new growth of shrubs, flowers and vegetables. Wash most of them off with a hard stream of water. If they persist apply a general-purpose organic or inorganic insecticide.
• Keep frost cloth handy to cover tender new plantings in case of late freeze or frost. You can gain several degrees of protection.
• Broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) to control clover, dandelions, chickweed and other non-grassy weeds. Read and follow label directions for all products intended to kill weeds to be certain you don’t damage desirable trees and shrubs by accident.