Dear Master Gardener: I am sooo excited! The weather has warmed, the trees are budding, the daffodils are blooming, my camellias survived the cold, and my daylilies are beginning to grow. Can I start putting seed in the ground? Has Spring Really Sprung?
Dear Nellie: Whoa! I am just like you. I am enjoying this wonderful weather. I even heard a few” northerners” say they have been swimming and sunbathing. Unfortunately, it is only February, and there is plenty of cold to come. Traditionally March can be our coldest month. I can even remember snow in March. You need to wait until Good Friday when the ground has warmed to plant seed outside. I suggest just take it easy and enjoy the warm weather while you can. However, what you can do is start your tomatoes and marigolds in flats inside. They will be just right to plant in your garden or in pots in April. Purchase an inexpensive flat with a plastic cover from the dollar store. Fill with “good” potting soil, water well and put as many as three seeds in each compartment (you will need to remove the weakest two later). Then put the flat in a sunny window and make sure the soil does not totally dry out. Ultimately, you will have 74 plants that would cost you around four dollars each in the store, plus, you will have fun gardening during the cold weather. Now is a good time to take soil samples for new and old flower and vegetable gardens, be sure to prune your roses before too long. Do Not prune or feed your azaleas at this time. Wait until they have bloomed. Last but not least be sure to clean up spent flowers underneath your camellias, and feed and spray them for bugs.
Dear Master Gardener: I have a new home. When is the best time to plant sprigs of centipede grass?
Dear New homeowner: If you plan to hire a contractor to prepare your grounds and roll out large sections of sod, go ahead at any time. However, if you are planning to sprig small pieces, I think it would be best to wait until the weather is a little warmer. Make certain you have your irrigation, or watering plans in place because you will need water in June, July, and August for certain. Draw a design including flower beds, shrubs, etc. There is no need to plant grass where you will need to remove it later. Do your homework, and take a soil sample. Grass is a long-term investment. You may want to plant a ground cover in shadier spots.