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Thursday, January 13, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm. I would like to share with you in advance an article that is scheduled to appear in the February Madison County Master Gardener Newsletter in February 2011. I was asked to submit some ideas as often as possible to help out with some gaps there have been in trying to fill space. Who knows...this Garden Daddy may get a "URBAN FARM" corner in some publication sometime! For those of you who are wanting some winter gardening it is as submitted (how it gets published is another story):


Welcome to the world of mid-winter gardening tips to get us ready for an early spring gardening session. These a few things we already know but can all use some reminders. January & February always seems to be so cold and very lack luster with the holidays just behind us and the pace has slowed down. That is true but not in the gardening world. There are many projects to occupy those days when it seems the sun will never shine again and the grass will never green back up
For those of us who have not cleaned off last summers' garden leftovers this can be the perfect time to clean off the now dried up debris and tidy up a bit. For those of us with compost bins, we have probably have already added most everything into that or otherwise discarded. No use waiting and thinking you have run out of time to clear off your vegetable garden site and now it is time to replant for this spring. Get it done now. Also in February, you can go ahead and add some lime to your gardening sites as in most forms we use it (either pelleted or ground) it takes some few months actually for it to break down for usable purposes. Actually liming could have been done this past fall and worked a few inches into the top of the soil.
February is also a good time for us to build or repair our cold frame & raised beds, order seeds, and get your lawn equipment serviced (most repair shops are a little slower this time of year and you can usually get in and out sooner than later with repairs & tuneups). It is time to prune some of your woody plants like grapevines, lilacs and fruit trees. You can paint your lawn furniture on warmer days, get your seed flats ready. One of our least favorite chores is tool sharpening. When doing this project yourself, remember to wear a good pair of leather palm gloves to protect your hands when using a file on hoes or mower blades, etc.
In February you can actually go ahead and start your cool season seeds in the prepared flats. These would include cabbages, broccoli, onions, etc. For the last week of February you can get your garden patch ready for some warmer weather veggies and cover with plastic or add to the cold frame. These would include carrots, lettuce, other leafy vegetables. I have even heard of some folks planting some potato "eyes" by the last week of February, planting around 8" deep, adding a layer of wheat straw UNDER the potato eyes, covering with the 8" of soil, then adding a heavy layer of wheat straw mulch on top of soil then adding another 1" of soil on top of the thicker wheat straw mulch and they were harvesting by the middle of the summer. Of course here in our often unpredictable Zone 7 in the mid-south we can have a good freeze late in the season. But with the 8" planting and heavy mulch on the potatoes you should just make it here. I might have to try this one in the near future myself.
So get out there, put on an extra layer of clothing and get some crisp, fresh, winter air and get a jump on things to come and let your garden shine and provide you with an early harvest that extends your growing season into almost a 9-month event with a spring, mid-summer and fall gardening session. And with any results at all, your freezer and pantry could be over run with good, healthy, home grown produce. In some cases I know of as well, some of our number have added a small backyard flock of laying hens, even in mid-town Jackson, where not only do we have our home gardens but where the eggs are fresh, non-medicated, steroid free and there is always LOTS of fertilizer mixed with straw, garden refuse and natural elements that can go back into the garden as well. I just threw that in for your thoughts on these long, gloomy winter days when our mind wanders through the seed catalogs and poultry supply catalogs and we place our orders from both! And as I say in my blog with our ongoing affirmation:"URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG AT A TIME!"

So to all you regular Garden Daddy followers I say happy winter gardening and keep up with your chores and keep your own URBAN FARM a star in your own neighborhood!


  1. My goal is to start seeds inside by the end of February! It's not much but more than I did last year. Because of back and knee problems, I never had one thing in the ground, seed or seedling.

  2. Hey Practical know you can either build (or get someone to build for you) something called a "table garden". It is really just a raised bed about chair height. I have considered putting one in my community garden to allow wheelchair gardening as needed. Then you can just work it standing up basically. Look at this design is really like a wooden picnic table with sides on it to hold soil mixture. The one in the photo has a cover to start gardening in cooler weather or extending the fall season...either one. Hope this helps.

    Mike...aka...Garden Daddy