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From The Ground Up

Everything’s Coming Up Roses Feb. 10

By Pamela Redwine

I am really excited about the Nutrition and Exercise program called “Healthy You!” that we have scheduled each Monday evening for the month of February.  I am writing this article before our first meeting, but we will start the class with 21 people signed up!

Thursday, Feb. 10 at noon we will have a Quick bites session. The speaker will be Lynette McDougald.  The title of her session is “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” – This program is just in time for Valentine’s Day.  Lynette will discuss popular roses, designs, care and handling, and variety identifications.  Bring your lunch and come learn about roses.

If you are interested in gardening then you will want to join us for the Home Gardening Workshop Series which will be held the 3rd Thursday of each month during the lunch hour.  This month the meeting will be held on February 17th .  The topic is “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Tomatoes”.  So, grab your lunch and join us for this lunch and learn program.

The general public is invited to each of our Extension Events.  Check out the Extension events there are a lot of 4H activities this week.

February brings new interest in vegetable gardening. Asparagus should be emerging by the end of the month. Give in to temptation and harvest the first shoots. Don’t fertilize until you have decided to leave some of the shoots for growth. The shoots you eat are growing from stored energy and fertilizing early encourages weeds.


Northern growers should be starting their tomato plants from seed.  Southern gardeners should already have their plants started.  Look for a thermometer while you are looking for seed.  The roller coaster weather in February and March makes it hard to determine which day to plant. Sticking a thermometer two or so inches into the ground and reading soil temperatures helps remove some of the guess work. Tomato plants can be set out when the soil temperatures are above sixty five degrees for three mornings in a row. Sweet corn can be planted when the temperatures are above sixty for three mornings in a row. These plants may need to be protected when cold fronts blow through, however.

Avoid working wet soil in the garden. It is tempting to crank up the rototiller on a warm February afternoon and go till in the henbit and other weeds, but don’t do it if you can squeeze water from the soil from the bottom of the tilled zone. The slicing action of the tiller blades will deform the clay in the soil and you can create a layer that will not allow water to flow through the soil.

Mid Winter Lawn Activities

Most of us are delighted that our warm-season species lawns have gone dormant and we are enjoying a reprise from our weekly or more often mowing chore.  But with a nice weekend or two mixed in with most cold wintery days we shouldn’t forget our lawn completely to ensure a healthy and aesthetic lawn this spring.

With winter rains and cold wet soil we can determine poor drainage areas and begin filling these with topsoil or determine other drainage options.  Removing any remaining fallen leaves from your lawn will improve the lawns winter appearance and help prevent turf diseases.

Controlling winter weeds now before they reach maturity will be much easier to accomplish and the danger of turf injury will be greatly reduced while the turf is dormant.  

If you have not taken a soil sample in the past three years now is a great time to determine the soil pH and if lime is recommended.  It generally takes months for lime to react and dramatically change the soil pH so applying lime now will benefit the turf much sooner this coming growing season.

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