Q: I’ve been looking over my garden and wonder what I should be doing this time of year. Do you have suggestions?
A: Now is a great time to catch up on your weeding. There are dandelions all over my yard so I am sure they are in everyone else’s yard also. This morning I noticed that my asparagus has not been cut back yet as it should have been after it froze. Cut yours back and then apply mulch. Have you planted your flowering bulbs? Do so now. Also there is still plenty of winter left to enjoy our cool-season annuals such as calendula, cyclamen, dianthus, Johnny-jump-ups, ornamental kale, pansies, snapdragons, stock and violas. Add compost to the soil before planting. If you can find bluebonnet transplants, plant them now. My wild ones in the yard are already the size of a transplant.
All of your beds need compost and mulch. If we don’t get more rain, water if the ground is dry. If a dead-looking landscape doesn’t bother you, refrain from pruning your freeze damaged plant material. Remember that this dead material provides some insulation for healthy plant tissue, according to Doug Welsh in his Texas Garden Almanac. I always leave my pruning for late February or March. Remove plant debris (dead leaves, flowers, and twigs) from your planting beds, particularly under rose bushes. The debris can harbor pests and diseases. This sounds opposite to mulching, however I am referring to debris from the plant that had leaf spot or wilt, or dead tomato plants (possibly with nematodes).
Now is also the time to transplant those shrubs and trees that you prepared for transplanting a couple of months ago. New trees can also be planted. Bare root roses should be planted now. Is your living Christmas tree still in the house? Move it outside to a shady location. After it acclimates for a week, plant it into the landscape.
Mow your lawn to get rid of those winter weeds (ryegrass, dandelions, clover, henbit, etc.) as well as to cut up the fallen leaves and turn them into mulch. The vegetable gardener has plenty to do. You can sow seed of beets, carrots, English peas, greens, lettuce, radishes, sugar snap and snow peas, and turnips. Cool season transplants can go in, such as asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, greens, kohlrabi, onions, and Swiss chard. Cold tolerant herbs can be planted including chives, cilantro (mine has already sprouted), dill, fennel, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
This is a good time of year to look around town and see which plants hold up to a freeze so that you can plan for your future landscaping. My satsuma came through like a champ. It had only a few frozen leaves yet it was uncovered and in the middle of the lawn.
Don’t forget our feathered friends and resident wildlife (squirrels, raccoons, possums, foxes). Provide water with birdbaths and ground level containers. Change the water frequently to keep out mosquito larvae.
Clara Mae Marcotte is a Texas Master Gardener with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. If you have a question to be answered, call the Master Gardeners at 830-379-1972 or leave a message to be answered. The website is guadalupecountymastergardeners.org. The Master Gardener research library is open Mondays from 8:30 to noon, at 210 East Live Oak Street in Seguin.
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