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News Story
Updated: 01/24/2013 07:59:33AM

Winter challenges gardeners

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PHOTO FROM WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Coreopsis and other colorful slowers start showing up in garden stores in February. They will being welcome color to the garden, or put them in containers for added impact.

PHOTO FROM WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Wait until mid-February to plant citrus trees. Mature trees may experience a freeze in winter, but a freeze of short duration (less than 6 to 8 hours) will likely survive with minimal damage.

By KAREN SMOKE

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Winter is full of challenges for the gardener. One day it feels like spring, and the next may be bitter cold. But notice how much more daylight we have already. Typically our coldest weather comes the last two weeks of January — or will it be mild? Frosts are still possible through the end of February.

Cold-hardy crops are at the peak of production. As crops mature, remove and make room for spring planting. If plants are still producing well, keep crops productive a month longer by side dressing with 1/2 cup of fertilizer per 10 feet of row. Aphids and small sucking insects begin to build populations. Watch for them around stems and lower leaves. Pick and discard infested leaves; then mop the stems with a soft brush dipped in soapy water. If plants are too heavily infested, pull and compost them away from the garden site. Allow a few plants of the brassica family to flower — they’ll attract honeybees to your garden.

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