“It’s February … What needs to be done
- Cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and potatoes should be planted mid-month, or about 4 weeks prior to the average last freeze date (March 15 in Ellis County). Beets, carrots, lettuce, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard and “greens” (collard, mustard and turnip) should be planted 2 to 4 weeks prior to the average last freeze.
- Plant asparagus crowns in 10-12 inches of soil. When buying plants, biggest is not always best, especially with bare root plants. Small to medium sizes establish faster.
- Dig and divide warm-season perennials (cannas, coneflowers, perennial salvia, mums) before they break dormancy.
FERTILIZING AND PRUNING
- Prune bush roses around Valentine’s Day. Prune old, dead and weak canes back to the ground. Leave 4 to 8 vigorous canes, removing one-half of their growth above an outward-facing bud. Wait to prune climbing or leaning roses until after they bloom. Prune errant canes any time to maintain shape.
- Herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses may be cut back now. Prune autumn sage (Salvia gregii) by 50%. Mexican heather grass does not require pruning.
- Dig and divide large clumps of ornamental grasses, especially if the center of the plant has died.
- Cut or mow liriope before new growth emerges. Trim Asian jasmine back to 4 or 5 inches.
- Begin controlling insects and diseases on fruit and nut trees. Spraying is essential for a successful harvest. Contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Ellis County for a copy of “Homeowners Fruit and Nut Spray Schedule”.
- Look for aphids and caterpillars on vegetables, and control with insecticidal soap and Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), respectively.
- Check for scale insects adhering to the trunk, branches and leaves of hollies, euonymus, shade trees, fruit and pecan trees. Apply horticultural oil to control these and other over-wintering insects.
- For the more difficult-to-control crape myrtle bark scale, apply a neonicotinoid insecticide, such as imidacloprid, as a soil drench to the root zone of infested trees.
EXTREME GARDENING TOPICS:
Extreme Planting – Hydroponics is a system by which plants are grown in water without the use of soil. Plants are anchored in an inert medium such as clay or gravel pellets. The roots of the plant grow downward through the medium and take up the nutrient rich water, thus eliminating the need for soil. More plants can generally be grown in the same amount of space compared to traditional soil gardening. Also, hydroponics can be stacked to further increase space efficiency thereby growing four times the amount of crop in the same space as traditional gardening. Some crops can grow twice as fast in a hydroponic setting.
Featured Plant ~ from 2020 Calendar
Coral Honeysuckle is known as Evergreen Honeysuckle, Trumpet Honeysuckle or Red Honeysuckle. It is a smooth, twinning evergreen vine bearing dark shiny green leaves which are white on the lower surface. The tubular or trumpet shaped flowers occur in whorls of four to six blossoms. They are usually red outside and orange inside, or rarely all orange or yellow. Ornamentally, coral honeysuckle is well suited to climb on a fence or trellis. It is an evergreen in most of Texas and blooms sporadically throughout the growing season to attract pollinating hummingbirds.
Click here to read the complete E-Garden Newsletter: February 2020 E-Garden Newsletter