07December 31, 2014

Well, this will definitely be the last column for 2014! I think I have run out of days to write anything more.
December looks to finish with a minimal amount of snow. During the weeks of selling holiday decorations and Christmas trees, the most common lament has been that it didn’t feel like winter. There is little doubt that we won’t get through the winter without some stretch of very cold weather. The question arises among customers about how abnormally warm weather will affect our outdoor plants. If the soil stays frozen or if it stays thawed, then plant roots will not be damaged by the alternating freeze / thaw cycle. Each time we get a cycle of many days of freezing the soil and then thawing of the soil, the result is damage to the roots of the plants. If you have not mulched around the root zone of your plants, you still have time to apply some mulch. You can use bark mulch to achieve a 3-inch layer of mulch around the root zone of your plants. Luckily, we haven’t had to worry about the plants getting sufficient moisture. In many cases, the ground stayed thawed out and any rain we got could go down into the soil.

Each year, the winter boredom sets in and people think about maybe starting some vegetable plants from seed. Keep in mind that you only need about 8 to 10 weeks from starting seeds to having a plant that you can put into the garden. If you wanted to start tomato plants from seed and figuring that you will set the plants out into the garden in mid to late May, that would mean that you would plant your seeds no earlier than the first week in March. If you succumb to the temptation of starting the seeds in January, you will have plants that are weak and these plants may not survive the transplanting into the garden. If you want to start some seeds early, you can start geraniums. These plants take a long time to go from a seed to a plant big enough to put into your planters. Pansies can also be started early. You can probably start pansies from seed and have a nice plant if you start the seeds around the first week in February. All in all, don’t rush the season and start your seeds too soon. You usually won’t gain anything by putting a stunted plant into the garden.

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have let me know how helpful these column have been in supplying you with timely information about what you should be doing in your garden and what you should be looking out for with problems in your garden. For over 25 years, I have tried to help the readers of the paper get the information they need to be successful gardeners. The other question that always crops up is whether or not I write this column or do I use some service that provides me with content to print each week. Rest assures that it is me sitting at the computer typing out this column each week and some weeks racking this old brain about what to write about each week.

Well, that’s all for this week. I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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