When moving trees and shrubs, if you interfere with one, leave the other alone
When you’re transplanting a tree or shrub, leave the branches alone. Once upon a time, gardening wisdom advised pruning back the branches to compensate for the roots lost when the plant was dug. I have been convinced for some time that this practice had been laid to rest, until I recently heard a garden expert on the radio recommend it to a listener who had called for advice.
Roses need to be pruned yearly to keep the plants strong and healthy. Now is the time to prune summer-flowering roses. Wait to prune spring-flowering roses until after they have flowered.
Hybrid T and floribunda roses in the ground five years or less should be pruned to within 12 inches of the graft union.
Take the first step in a natural dill-recycling program
Fresh chopped dill is hard to beat in stewed tomatoes, mashed potatoes, cucumber salad, steamed carrots or your favorite vegetable or chip dip. Dill has a unique flavor and aroma. But it’s difficult to incorporate in the herb garden because it grows tall and spindly and does not produce much for the space it occupies. So I grow it as a garden weed.
I am told that in Ireland, potatoes and peas are always planted on St. Patrick’s Day. Here in Southern Maryland, our soils are generally wet and cold and impossible to plow, rototill or cultivate in mid-March. This year may be different.
Can’t wait for spring?
Bring spring indoors, and you can enjoy early flowers.
Pussy willow can be cut and brought indoors for forcing any time after the middle of January.
Force forsythia into flowering next, starting as early as February.
This root is easy to grow, but processing it is tearful, hard work
If you’ve been smart enough to plant horseradish, your reward is at hand. Now that the tops of the horseradish plants have died back to the ground, it is time to dig up the roots and make horseradish with a kick. Add fresh homemade horseradish to cocktail sauce, horseradish sauce or your favorite baked beans, and you’ll feel that kick.
Last year’s crop of onions was great. It was a bumper crop and should have supplied the family with fresh onions through March and into April as the previous year’s crop. However, due to the early sprouting and a disease called neck rot, we finished eating the last onion shortly after Thanksgiving. Having never experienced this problem before, I decided to investigate the cause.
Healthy plants grow, and unless pruned, they often outgrow their function in the landscape. This problem is most often resolved by pruning during the spring and summer. But pruning boxwoods during these months often spreads canker-causing microorganisms between the cut surfaces, infecting the branches. Cankers damage boxwoods and are difficult to control with fungicides.
You can now pick fresh, crisp ruby-red radishes from your cold frame, as well as spinach, lettuce and green onions. If you have a cold frame, that is. If not, here are instructions so you won’t miss out next year.