SNOWFALL IN THE COLD MONTH OF FEBRUARY? We can expect snow in February, even though it is our shortest month, it an also be our coldest month. Snow is a huge possibility for the month of February. Snow will be great for the dormant lawn and also the garden plot because snow will add nutrients and kill off wintering bugs and insects in the garden. A hefty snow will bring down the rest of the stubborn oak leaves. A snow will also purify the winter air, get rid of flu viruses and make the landscape beautiful. There is still plenty of winter left and still plenty of February remaining, so think snow and prepare for it by getting the snow shovel and windshield scrapers ready!
STARTING THE LAWNMOWER AND TILLER IN THE DEAD OF WINTER The sleeping lawnmower needs to be woke up and exercised once a week during the winter months. Start the mower or tiller and let them run for several minutes. Be sure to disengage the mower blade. running the mower each week will circulate the oil and gas and charge the battery and free cold parts. you can also drive the mower around the yard a few times with the blade disengaged to make sure it is ready for spring mowing.
THE GARDEN CENTERS ARE PREPARING FOR SPRING The lawnmowers and tillers are being displayed inside and outside of home improvement stores and hard wares and inside the seed racks are filled with vegetable and flower seeds, as well as garden products and tools. It is not too early to buy seeds but be sure to store them in a warm, dry place and don’t forget where you have placed them. If you need tools such as a hoe, rake, pitchfork, or even a snow shovel, buy them now.
CHECKING WHATS NEW IN NEW 2016 GARDEN CATALOGS In the cold of February, its the ideal time to gather up the 2016 seed catalogs and see what is available or new for the garden year ahead. One of the biggest draw backs form ordering from the seed catalogs is paying shipping and handling charges. But also, one of the big advantages is that some unusual and proven varieties can only be purchased through those catalogs. Another disadvantage is most seed packets have only thirty or less seeds. When purchasing seed from catalogs, buy only the varieties you can’t purchase locally or by the pound or ounce.
MAKING 2016 A YEAR OF THE FOUR O’CLOCKs Most garden shops, home improvement and hard wares now have flower and seed displays where you can purchase packets of four o’clocks for just two to three dollars per packet. These flowers are colorful as well as producing plenty of lush foliage from late spring until the first frost. These flowers are in colors of red, white, yellow, purple, shaded and speckled. They thrive in all types of soil. Burpeeshas two varieties named “marbles” and “kaleidoscope”, they can be purchased at Lowe’s and Home Improvement for about $2.89 per packet. Many Burpee seed can be purchased at these stores, without having to order them.
A CAN OR BOTTLE ETHANOL TREATMENT If you are weary of using ethanol-added gas in your lawn mower, tiller or chainsaw, you can purchase a can or bottle of ethanol gas treatment at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart, or local hardware. Add to the gas according to the instructions on the container, a few gas stations sell ethanol-free gas but it costs a little more per gallon, but may be well worth it for small engines and equipment.
STILL A GREAT TIME TO FERTILIZE THE LAWN As the month of February reaches over the hump, there is still plenty of month remaining to feed and fertilize the lawn. Don’t use 10-10 fertilizer which is especially formulated for gardens and vegetables. Use a lawn fertilizer, especially formulated for lawns that feeds over a long growing season. It is ideal to fertilize lawns on a day before snow is in the forecast. A few inches of snow will cause the fertilizer to absorb into the sod without washing it down to the street. Snow will add extra nutrients to the applied fertilizer for an extra boost and a quick start for the lawn.
STILL ONE MORE WEEK TO PRUNE FRUIT TREES The time is running out to prune and shape fruit trees during their dormant stage. Pick a day this week when there is some sunshine and no wind. With no foliage, it will be easy to cut back extra growth and tall limbs and cut out dead limbs. This will make better production and also an easy harvest.
KEEP UP THE RECYCLING PROCESS AT YOUR HOUSE Do your part to clean up the environment by recycling all household items. Our town of Rural Hall makes your job easier with their roll out recycling plan that picks up recycle bins every other Tuesday. you can recycle broken down cardboard, newspapers (bundled and tied), aluminum and metal cans, plastic cartons. Please remove paper labels from cans and wash out jars and cat-sup and mustard bottles and jars. Place the roll out bins out on Monday night, because the recycling trucks arrive at dawn in some areas on Tuesdays.
GOOD VARIETIES OF CARROTS FOR PIEDMONT AREA Carrots may require effort on the part of the gardeners, but it is a worthwhile effort. Start with good, soft, conditioned soil and good varieties such as Scarlet Nantes which is six to eight inches long, Nantes Half Long which is seven inches long, Danvers Half Long and an heirloom that has been around for well over a hundred year. All these are best varieties and worth a place in your garden plot.
“BIG DADDY” ANOTHER GREAT HYBRID TOMATO FROM BURPEE “The Big Daddy” is a cousin to the “Big Boy” tomato, which has proven itself over the years and Big Daddy is an improvement of the Big Boy variety. It is disease resistant and produces more fruit than the Bog Boy tomato. Like the Big Boy, the Big Daddy is intermediate. A packet of twenty five seeds costs $5.95, but their production is worth the price.
AN UNUSUAL RADISH VARIETY FROM PARK SEED Most radishes are red on the outside and white on the inside, but a new variety from Park Seed is white on the outside and red on the inside, it matures in sixty days and is named “Starburst’. It is a Chinese variety, two and a half inches in diameter, and an interesting feature is the radish can be pickled! There’s not much you can do with a lowly raddish, but this one is very unusual and maybe worth a try. A packet contains 100 seeds and costs $3.95. That may seem a bit much, but this variety may be worth it, just to satisfy the mind!
Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at BSylvia1946@gmail.com.