Let it grow: Prepare for spring gardening now

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Have you planned your garden yet? I&8217;m sure you&8217;ve memorized every plant in your seed catalogs.

Now is the time to plan where you&8217;re going to place these plants in your garden. Measure your planting areas with a simple tape measure. Transfer the dimensions to graph paper.

Then you&8217;ll be ready for your &8220;after the sun goes down&8221; chores. While the sun is in the sky above, take advantage of it.

The lack of daylight is one of the reasons GWS (gardening withdrawal syndrome) has such an adverse effect on us gardeners.

January is a good time to test your soil. Pick up a test kit from your County Extension office in Columbiana or go to your independent retail nursery to get one. Test and amend your soil accordingly now, and you&8217;ll be ready to plant in the spring.

What&8217;s your lawnmower doing right now? For some, I&8217;ll bet the old gasoline is waiting to turn to gel in the tank. That&8217;s not a good thing.

Take advantage of the rest time and take your mower to your independent small engines dealer and have it serviced. You&8217;ll want your mower to start and run well when it is grass cutting season again. Your favorite dealer will change the oil, empty the gas, replace the filters and sharpen the blades. Don&8217;t wait until spring to do this. Do it today. The shops can get your mowers ready faster in January. Do the same for all of your gas powered tools.

Now is also a good time to prune your hedges and shrubs. While you are walking around your garden, be sure to have your pruning shears at your side. When you see a shrub that needs pruning, do it now.

Broken or dead limbs are easier to spot in January when the leaves are off the tree. If you don&8217;t have the tools to remove these limbs, be sure to hire a licensed arborist to do the work for you. It is always money well spent. Don&8217;t hire &8220;Two Bubbas and a Chainsaw&8221; to do this work.

It never fails. Every year I either see a stupid act or hear about one where someone didn&8217;t hire the proper professional to do the work and someone or something got hurt. Think of it like wearing seatbelts. Do it.

Speaking of trees … Next Wednesday, Jan. 11, the Alabama Urban Forestry Association along with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System are presenting an all-day seminar on landscaping with trees in the auditorium at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

I have seen the line-up of speakers and this promises to be one of the best seminars of the year.

For information or reservations, please contact David Hubbard at (205)879-6964 Ext. 17. I&8217;m counting on seeing you there