Georgia Garden Girl

Garden Great in Zone 8!

Time to Get Ready

on March 14, 2014

Y’all may as well know.  I love to-do lists.  I love making to-do lists, and I especially love crossing things off my to-do lists.  It’s just about time for the weekend, and that means that my garden to-do list is getting long!

We’ve had some glorious weather in middle Georgia over the past couple of days (though it did get downright cold last night).  I’m sorry to say that our friends at the Weather Channel are not predicting similar gloriousness this weekend.  It is supposed to be cloudy on Saturday and rainy on Sunday.  But that will not stop me from trying to cross a few things off my list:

  • Divide perennials and give leftovers to friends.  I didn’t get around to dividing my spring and summer perennials at the ideal time (October).  It was football season—give me a break.  But now is also a good time to divide.  Mama says, “If you have to buy hostas, you don’t have any friends.”  So get digging and share your wealth of daisies, hostas, black eyed susans, sedums, etc.
  • Weed and mulch perennial beds.  While I’m dividing the perennials, I may as well pull some weeds and then put down some mulch.  If I’m feeling extra industrious, I’ll mulch with old newspapers and then pinestraw—that will save me some weeding time in the summer.
  • Start hardening off vegetable seedlings and coleus plants.  I overwintered my coleus plants inside and rooted some new ones.  Now, I have six flats of coleus plants, and I’m ready to get them out of the kitchen/dining room/living room.  And I started my tomato and pepper seeds back in January, plus some other veggie seeds in February.  They are getting too big to stay under the lights.  Here’s what they looked like last weekend:
    20140309
    (Yes, those are pumpkins in the middle on the bottom—I was doing some germination tests, and I’ve decided to keep on testing.  Don’t judge).
    Anyway, before I plant any of these babies outside (which I will NOT be doing this weekend), I need to get them used to the sun and the temperature.  So, I will put them outside in a shaded, sheltered location for a few days, and I will gradually transition them into the sunny spot where they will spend the summer.  And if I receive a frost warning, I will bring them right back inside!
  • Check outdoor faucets and hoses for leaks.  My plumber friend is coming by next week to give me an estimate on a bathroom remodel.  While he is at my house, I may as well see if he can fix any outdoor faucet leaks, which means that I need to figure out where the leaks are this weekend.
  • Prune the dwarf yaupons.  It’s a good time to prune ornamentals like hollies and boxwoods.  And if your oleander froze, you probably want to cut that back too.  For pruning tips, click here.
  • Trim the liriope.  Okay, I’ve already done this one.  Isn’t it nice to have something already off the list?  But if you haven’t trimmed your liriope, you probably want to go ahead and get that done before the new growth starts.  Just take a string trimmer to it.  Or, if it’s a large area of liriope and there are no nearby barriers (say, metal or concrete edging), just take your mower, set it to its highest setting, and mow the liriope.

One thing I will NOT be doing this weekend is planting my summer vegetables outside.  I know they’ve got them in the stores, but that doesn’t mean you need to plant them.  Our 50% frost date isn’t even until next Sunday, March 23.  Plus, the soil temperature isn’t warm enough yet.  It is getting mighty close, though.  Remember, we need the soil temperature to be at least 60°F for tomatoes, 65°F for okra, and 70°F for peppers.  Down in Quitman County, the 2 inch soil temperature was about 60°F earlier today, and the 4 inch soil temperature was 56.8°F.  Up in Harris County, the 2 inch soil temperature was 58.7°F, and the 4 inch soil temperature was 53.7°F.  You can check your soil temperature using a meat thermometer.  Or you can go to http://georgiaweather.net/.  The upshot: don’t plant your summer vegetables outside now unless you want to (a) stunt their growth and (b) cover them or dig them up in the event of a frost.  All right.  I’ll get off the soapbox now.  If you really want to plant your tomatoes now, that’s your journey.

I hope you have a marvelous weekend.  And I hope you cross many tasks off your to-do list!

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