When to start planting seeds


The cold weather continues, but spring gardening is just around the corner. Get timely advice from James Quinn (retired) Horticultural Specialist.

fruit

The second half of February is an ideal time to prune fruit trees and vines, and early March is also ideal if the cold weather persists. Ideally, you want to wait until all the harmful winter weather has passed. That is weather where ice build-up or wet, heavy snow can damage woody tissue.

Burn fungus goes into remission in very cold weather, so pruning during this time is less likely to spread the disease. Yes (dry tools at the end of the day). You can also snap off diseased twigs during the winter cold. (For gardeners suffering from fire blight, the most important time of year for prevention is to apply streptomycin during flowering.)

Watch out for rodent damage in the bark of fruit trees and the numerous holes at the base of the trees. Use baits and traps for control. Established fruit trees can be fertilized when the frost lifts off the ground, usually at the end of February. please.

Any of these cold months is a good time to establish bare-root plants in early spring. Companies usually hold orders until the weather warms up for safe delivery. Less need to pamper when dry, hot weather hits.

vegetable

Indoor winter sowing is a great way to spend a little gardening energy. We recommend germinating a test sample of the rest of the seeds you plan to use in the spring: Roll 10 seeds in a damp paper towel to keep them moist (like a ziplock bag) and place them in warm room temperature. He keeps for a week. If at least half have not sprouted, order new seeds.

Usually the first vegetable to sow is the onion, which can be started any time in February, but the sooner the better. From 2 weeks you can sow celery seeds. In the last two weeks, you can sow Cole crops (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) and lettuce. These should be ready to be transplanted at the end of March.

If weather and soil conditions permit, try seeding directly outdoors, such as lettuce, peas, radishes, and spinach. It is easier to plow the soil in the fall. For early spring plowing, make sure the ground is not too wet (or frozen). To test, you should squeeze out a handful of soil to form a ball that crumbles easily. Working in wet soil should be avoided as much as possible as it will damage the soil structure for the next growing season.

Flowers

Examine the summer flower bulbs to make sure they are not dry. Remove anything that shows signs of spoilage. Geranium cuttings can be taken in February. In late February, it can be planted where flowers such as snapdragons, larkspur, sweet peas and shirley poppies grow. These plants should start growing before the onset of warm weather. Massive begonias can also be started at this time, and the “Nonstop” variety is doing well in Missouri.

Other slow-growing flower species such as petunia, coleus, ageratum, geranium, verbena, impatiens, and salvia can be started indoors in the second half of February. Again, bottom heat and artificial light supplementation should reduce the time to make a good transplant and improve the quality.

trees and woody plants

Removing snow and ice from trees and shrubs is different. In the case of snow, heavy snow on branches and branches is brushed off to reduce damage, but in the case of ice, it melts naturally. Attempting to knock it out can cause further damage to the plant.

Want to use your Christmas tree the natural way and reduce needle spread when moving it from home? Cut the branches to 12-18 inches, place them in a yard bag, and use as mulch. The final stem can be chopped up and used in the fireplace when dry.

As mentioned in the fruit section, late February is a good time for pruning. For houseplants, planters are most concerned with plant balance and shape. This is easier to assess without leaves.

Evergreens can be watered anytime during January and February if the soil is dry and not frozen, the latter condition becoming more likely as February progresses. Finally, if you have a mild day, the dormant oil can be applied to ornamental trees and shrubs.

grass

The seeds can be covered with frost in February.The idea is that the late snow and frost bumps provide good contact between the seeds and the soil.The seeds are placed there and the soil reaches a suitable temperature for germination. wait for

gardening fun.

Peter Sutter is a lifelong gardening enthusiast and participates in the MU Extension’s Master Gardener Program.Gardening questions can be sent to [email protected]



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