Welcome to February in Central Florida! We may not be shoveling driveways and using snow tires, but winter brings its own set of challenges to Florida gardeners. We have a few things to keep in mind as you survey your landscape, visualizing your spring and summer growth.
First of all, this is a great time to have your soil pH checked, before you start installing a bunch of new plants in the ground. If you have never checked your soil’s pH before, bring a completely dry sample into Doty Farm & Garden Supply in Winter Haven to have it analyzed for free. Most plants do best at a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. If your soil is too far off, we’ll have recommendations for amendments, too.
Even if you are raising vegetables for your own table, it’s important to remember that your plants need to eat, too. Fertilize your vegetables and annuals lightly every two weeks to ensure healthy production. Spray them with a combination fungicide and insecticide once a week to keep off pests. Bulbous plants also need to be fed regularly for optimal growth.
Check your plants for damage from cold weather before you start pruning. If there is damage, you need to wait until mid-March or April to determine how far back you should prune them. Otherwise, go ahead and do your cutting back, trim ragged poinsettias, divide daylilies, and shape your azaleas. Azaleas should be fertilized with an acid fertilizer after blooming.
This is also the perfect time to use pre-emergent weed killers on the lawn, and keep an eye out for insects. Things like aphids, caterpillars, and spider mites are starting to become more active again.
Now, get out there and beautify your yard and property! Happy gardening.
BIO: William R. “Bill” Doty is the owner of Doty’s Farm and Garden Supply Inc. Founded in 1954, Doty Farm and Garden Supply, Inc. has been there for every one of their loyal customer’s budding needs. Bill Graduated from Winter Haven H.S. and then Florida State University, where he learned invaluable lessons in listening, asking questions, and reading anything related to the family business. Bill shares his knowledge with his customers daily and our readers each month.