houseplants this month. Provide them with as much sunlight and
fresh air as possible. Check for disease and insects. A good
cleaning under a soft spray of water from the sink or bathtub
faucet will do wonders. Cut back leggy or straggly plants. Slowly
increase water and begin fertilizing in late February or as soon
as you see some new growth.
If the weather is mild, conditions
leaf curl disease development may be right. This fungus
disease curls, distorts and reddens leaves and can affect peach
trees as soon as buds start swelling. Use sprays of lime sulfur
or fungicide now. You’re your local Extension office
for specific information if you are concerned about this disease.
By late spring or early summer when symptoms are evident the
fungicide sprays will be ineffective.
Don't apply an oil spray during
freezing weather; it can injure plants, especially evergreens.
On fruit trees the best time to apply oil sprays is just before
the buds are ready to open.
You can still do some winter
pruning of fruit trees and/or deciduous hedges if conditions are
appropriate. Remove blown-in leaves and debris from your yard and
from around shrubs to minimize diseases. Birches bent from heavy
snow loads should be righted as soon as possible.
you have fluorescent lights available, you can start parsley,
onion seeds, head lettuce, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli,
cabbage, most herbs and cool season flowers (like pansies and
alyssum) now so they will be good-sized by spring planting. You
can also start petunias and seed geraniums. Perennials like aubrieta,
arabis, basket of gold, and dianthus are easy to grow from seed
and it is much cheaper than buying transplants.
If you want three-foot tomato
transplants in June, now is the time to start
them indoors. They can be started as late as April but
they will not be the big, healthy specimens you will have if
you seed them now.
plants indoors, remember that warm (but not hot) locations
encourage best germination. Avoid placing starts in direct
sun next to windows. A sterile seeding mix will get your new
plants off to a good start.
Add manure or
compost to your garden as soon as the soil is workable. This
allows time for salts to leach out and ammonia to dissipate before
it is time to plant.
Start a garden notebook or
computer log and vow to use it all year. You will be amazed at how
much the information from this year will benefit next year. Write
down which perennials bloom together and how long they bloom. Start
planning planting schedules for vegetables and annuals.