If you’re like me, by the end of January you’re weary of the handful of cold winter days we have in South Texas and ready to be back outside working in the garden, enjoying warmer weather and all the other activities that make spring and summer fun. In the meantime, there are plenty of garden activities that will help get your garden ready for spring.
Take a casual stroll through your landscape, observe the condition of your trees and shrubs, and brainstorm about what you’d like to change. Some plants may have frost damage and dead limbs that need to be removed. Schedule a day or two to clean up and remove those dead limbs and other debris. If you’ve decided to add some trees or shrubs to your garden, this is an excellent time to do so. After all, new plantings need time to develop roots before the inevitable summer heat sets in.
Although winter is a tad early to start fertilizing your lawn, you can still get a head start on your beds by tilling in 1 inch of compost or broadcasting a high-quality, slow-release fertilizer. Consider a pre-emergent to tackle those weeds; in south-central Texas, pre-emergents are generally applied around February 15 (for summer weeds) and September 15 (for winter weeds.) Corn gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent and must be applied just before weed seeds begin to germinate. Continue to conserve water by applying fresh mulch to perennial beds – after fertilizing of course – and by watering only when the top inch of soil is completely dry.
Disinfect and sharpen all garden tools including lawn mower blades. And delay planting warm season veggies until after March 1, the average last day of frost for our area.
If you do all of the above, your garden is ready for spring.