Spring Garden Tips

Melinda's Gardening Tips for Late January

Whether you are hoping for a big harvest, a beautiful landscape, or a little stress relief, knowing the when and how of gardening will help you be a success. Use these timely garden tips to eliminate some of the guesswork. For more gardening tips, check out Melinda's gardening books.


Catalogues are starting to fill your mailbox. Take some time to plan before placing your order. Make sure the plants you select are hardy in your climate, tolerate the growing conditions in your yard, complement your landscape design or suited to your families taste buds.

Growing Green

Recycle old catalogues as new ones arrive. Check with schools, churches, and daycare centers that may be able to put the pretty photos to work in craft projects. Or contact horticulture students and master gardeners that may be interested in using the catalogues as a reference or the photos for creating references or in school projects.

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Gardening Tips for Flowers

Check on geraniums, tropical bulbs and other plants stored for the winter. Adjust storage conditions for any plants that have started to grow prematurely. If growth continues you may need to pot them up, move them to a sunny window and grow them indoors until milder weather returns.

Start bringing forced bulbs out of cold storage. Move to a cool sunny location once they have been chilled for 12 to 15 weeks. Water thoroughly and whenever the top few inches of soil begins to dry. Stagger the starting time to extend your indoor bloom.

A Fabulous Garden in 5 Easy Steps

Fall Landscape Care in 5 Easy Steps


Gardening Tips for Edibles

Work off some of those holiday pounds clearing a corner of the basement to create a place to start plants from seeds. A flat surface or sturdy shelf unit, a nearby outlet and source for water is all you need. Hang a fluorescent light fixture from the ceiling or shelf. Use chains, pulley or other system to keep the distance between the top of the growing seedlings and light 4 to 6 inches.

Take advantage of a winter thaw to dig any carrots and parsnips that you stored in the garden. Use a garden fork to carefully lift them out of the soil. You will be pleasantly surprised with their sweeter than normal flavor.

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Trees, Shrubs and Roses

Check on any container plantings of roses, trees or shrubs stored in the unheated garage for winter. Water whenever the soil is thawed and dry. Add some extra insulation such as packing peanuts or other material (I'm sure you can find something in the garage) for added protection.

Do not shake heavy snow and ice off the branches of trees and shrubs. Your shaking can break branches causing more damage than the snow and ice. Instead, make a note of preventative measures you can take next fall to minimize this type of damage next winter.

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Lawns and Groundcovers

Many gardeners choose to hire a professional to manage their lawn so they can dedicate more time to their gardens. Now is a good time to start shopping around for a company that matches your needs and gardening philosophy. Decide on what services you want them to provide, how much fertilization and what if any pesticides (this includes herbicides) you want them to apply. Realize your management choices will influence the quality and appearance of your lawn.

Next ask friends and relatives for recommendations. Select a company that is active in professional organizations, provides staff training, and will notify you prior to chemical applications. Ask for a written service agreement and ask about automatic renewals or penalties for discontinuing their services. Remember you are the customer and the only way to get the lawn and service you want is to ask in advance.

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Tips for Indoor Plants

Check leaves of houseplants for signs of insects and disease. A clear sticky substance, honeydew, is a good indication your plants have mites, aphids, mealybug, scale or white fly. Several applications of insecticidal soap will take care of mites, aphids and the infant stages of white fly, mealybugs and scale. Persistence is the key to successful control.

Removing diseased leaves, adjusting your watering schedule, and increasing the amount of light will control most diseases. Isolate infected plants to reduce the spread of diseases and insects to healthy specimens. A few minutes of prevention may save you hours battling houseplant pests.

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ASK MELINDA - Get immediate answers to your gardening questions! Check out my searchable database of more than 30 years of questions and answers, podcasts and videos.

LANDSCAPE MAKEOVER IDEAS - Check out my landscape makeover photo gallery to get ideas on making over your yard and then post photos of your accomplishments!

MELINDA'S GARDEN MOMENT VIDEOS - In need of more gardening tips that can visually walk you through the process? Watch online streaming video of my nationally-syndicated gardening videos.

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