Your Monthly Garden Chores for January and February
Don't forget all the little details to keep your garden healthy and happy
-Plant your holiday Amaryllis bulbs in your yard after they’ve finished blooming.
–Start tomato plants from seed indoors so they’re ready to transplant in late February.
–Prune summer-blooming trees and shrubs such as crape myrtles. They are dormant now and have lost their leaves, so you can see where limbs are dead or diseased, or crossing and rubbing. Don’t prune spring bloomers such as azaleas or forsythia, though, or you’ll cut off the flower buds.
–Prune your roses. An easy way to remember is to think about Valentine’s Day and its connection to roses.
–Set out tomato plants in late February, but be prepared to protect them from frost or freeze. We usually have plenty of mild days in February, and planting early gives tomatoes a head start — before insects have hatched.
–Plant potatoes and peas this month, giving the peas a lattice or trellis — give them something to hold onto as they grow.
Insects and other critters, good and bad: Clover Mites
Clover mites, Bryobia praetiosa Koch, are tiny insects that just love lush vegetation, particularly if it’s close to the house.
They cause small silver streaks on foliage and grass blades, and sometimes flowers, when they feed. In large numbers, they can injure the lawn to the point it looks like winter kill.
They usually show up in spring and fall, because they don’t like weather extremes. Leaving an unplanted strip about the foundation of buildings can discourage them from taking up residence.
Giving extra water to areas around foundations, especially if the wall faces the sun, can reduce populations. Planting marigolds, roses, chrysanthemums and zinnias can discourage them, too.
They move indoors when it gets too hot or too cold, or too wet. When they move inside, they’re more annoying than dangerous, leaving a red smear when crushed against a wall, door or floor.
Don’t confuse them with their beneficial predator cousin, Balaustium spp., which has been found to be an effective way to control insect pests.