In general, most gardeners like to be busy. So at those times of the year (like in the winter months) when some people think there is relatively little to do, there are actually quite a few tasks that need to be performed. Therefore, it is not a lack of things to do, but rather simply to identify the tasks that await you.
Gardeners and homeowners who have cold-sensitive plants in their landscape should check them daily to make sure they are adequately protected. If a check reveals that more protection is needed to keep the plant alive during periods of low temperature, there is a task that requires attention.
Winter (from now to mid-March) is the best time of year to prune all plants except ornamental plants that bloom in spring or early summer, and fruit trees that need to have a small portion of the canopy removed to prevent overgrowth and overweight of undersized fruit.
The winter months are also the ideal time to plant woody ornamental plants and hardy fruit trees. And from a personal point of view, in a cool environment, you usually will not sweat so much. Do not plant palm trees until summer!
Several of the bulb flowers (such as tulips) do better if they are refrigerated a few weeks before planting. If yours is still in the fridge, it’s not too late to plant them.
Dispose of or store your Christmas tree. Of course, living trees can not be stored, but both living and artificial trees can become bird habitats. Just dig a hole somewhere where you can see the birds and put the tree in it. Wrap soil around the bottom of the tree that is in the hole so that it remains stable in the upright position. Trees still resistant attached can just be put on an open patio. An alternative to living trees is to use them for fish habitat.
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Now I know there are some gardeners who are itching to get their early gardens started. Although not many vegetables can be successfully planted in the garden at this time of year, there are a few that will do just fine. It would be English peas and either onion sets or plants. Mustard greens should probably be added to that list. However, people with a greenhouse, hearth or cold frame can sow beets, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, chard, eggplant, lettuce, peppers and peppers, radishes and tomatoes. But it is too early to start with plants.
The hand tools used by gardeners should be inspected for necessary cleaning, sanding or perhaps replacement if wooden handles are broken.
Review all the latest seed catalogs you have received and order seeds you want that are not available locally.
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Joe White is a retired gardener with LSU AgCenter.
This article originally appeared on Shreveport Times: Joe White: What to do if you are a bored gardener