Gardening in South Mississippi – January and February
If you think there’s not a lot to do in the garden in the last hours of winter, take another look at these late winter garden chores and get busy. One of the first things that need to be done is to disinfect all of last years starting pots with a weak solution of one part bleach to ten parts water. After that you can begin testing the germination of any old seed by putting a few of each on a wet paper towel and sealing them in a zip lock bag. Place them in a warm sunny window or another good light source and wait one to two weeks. If they germinate plant them in your starter pots indoors or in a green house.
Around the last week of January and the first week of February, begin to sow indoors lettuce, arugula, spinach, turnips, onions, leeks, chives, broccoli, cabbage, chard, and Brussels sprouts. If you want an herb garden, sow indoors parsley, basil, cilantro, dill, fennel, mint, lemon balm, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon, marjoram, etc. Also start chitting (sprouting) potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Outdoors in the garden add compost, manure, and wood ash top improve vegetable beds, digging it in well about 6” to 12” deep. Add a little lime for Cole crops in the brassica beds and also where you want to plant onions. Continue harvesting late winter crops such as cabbages, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips, leeks, radishes, mustards, collards, spinach, mibuna, mizuna, and any other remaining crops.
Make hot caps out of coke bottles and milk jugs to protect new seedlings. Begin to sow outdoors around the first of February directly in the garden. Plant kale, collards, spinach, cabbage, kohlrabi, turnips, beets, peas, carrots, radishes, onion, garlic, shallots, and chamomile for the herb garden. As weather permits, start planting chatted potatoes and asparagus transplants.
In the flower garden deadhead winter annuals such as mums, to prolong flowering. Divide and transplant larger clumps of existing bulbs like spider lilies and day lilies. Prune fruit trees, crepe myrtles, privet hedges, and roses. Plant new roses lilies, and other perennials and bulbs. Rake and compost any left over fallen leaves.
Now is a good time to start shopping at garden centers and nurseries before the spring rush. Shelves should be newly stocked, and workers will likely have a little extra time to answerer questions and help you in your gardening endeavors. Also do your mail-order seed shopping now. By the end of February you should have all your winter gardening tasks completed. You’ll be ready to start your spring garden in March and April and not feel like you have to do everything at once. God bless and go grow something!
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