By Dr. William C. Welch,
Professor & Extension Landscape Specialist Landscape Horticulturist
- Make flower and vegetable garden plans now before the rush of spring planting. Time spent in armchair gardening will pay off in improved plant selection.
- Sow seeds in flats or containers to get a jump on plant growth before hot weather arrives. Petunias, begonias, and impatiens should be sown in early January. Warm temperature plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, and periwinkles, should be sown in late January or early February.
- Apply a light application of fertilizer to established pansy plantings. Use one-half pound of ammonium sulfate per 100 square feet of bed area. Repeat the application every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on rainfall. Dried blood meal is also an excellent source of fertilizer for pansies.
- Prepare beds and garden area for spring plants.
- Check junipers and other narrow-leaf evergreens for bagworm pouches. The insect eggs overwinter in the pouch, and start the cycle again by emerging in the spring to begin feeding on the foliage. Hand removal and burning of the pouches are ways of reducing the potential damage next spring.
- The life of the plant received as a Christmas gift can be prolonged with proper care. Keep the soil moist, but provide drainage so that excess moisture can flow from the pot. Keep the plant out of range of heating ducts and away from heating units. Keep in a cool room at night, preferably at 60 to 65 degrees F.
- Don’t fertilize newly set out trees or shrubs until after they have started to grow, and then only very lightly the first year.
Visit http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ for more indepth seasonal updates from Dr. Welch and other Texas A&M Horticulture Department staff.