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Extension Agent: Getting ready for spring

By By Peter J. McGuill
Feb. 11, 2014 at midnight
Updated Feb. 10, 2014 at 8:11 p.m.

Peter McGuill

The winter months are always tough on me - not from a physical perspective but a mental one. I enjoy being outdoors working on productive projects, and the winter months just don't give me that satisfaction.

Yes, there are days in South Texas that are warm enough to be outdoors, and some days are downright hot, but the dull landscape remains as a reminder that the newness of spring has yet to arrive. This is a great time, however, to make a solid plan for the many things that need to be done with the changing of the season.

Following the extremely cold temperatures that we endured in January as well as the cold temps that may be yet to come before the end of winter, it is highly probable that some of our landscape plants won't survive the unusually cold temperatures.

If you find yourself in a position of having to replace a few or several plants, take time to research the potential replacement plant options to ensure that they meet your individual wants and needs for the location as they relate to size, color, etc., but also that they are an environmental fit for our part of the state.

I regularly get calls from homeowners who are having problems with plants, trees and fruiting plants that simply don't work in our area. If you're just not sure what to plant, then I encourage you to visit with an independent nursery owner or talk to a Master Gardener. They would be glad to assist you and have a true passion for gardening and want you to be successful.

This is also an opportune time to plan your spring vegetable garden plantings, search seed catalogues and order the exact varieties that you wish to plant. If you wait until planting time, you will be relegated to planting whatever is left on the shelf. On those days that it is warm enough to be outdoors, you may want to begin to stake out rows or till the garden space if the soil is dry enough.

The age-old saying of "failing to plan is planning to fail" certainly rings true with regard to gardening and landscape design.

Maybe just thinking about all the things that need to be done when spring breaks will give us the energy to make it through the rest of the winter.

For more information, call the Victoria County office of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at 361-575-4581.

Peter J. McGuill is the Victoria County extension agent - ag and natural resources. Contact him at 361-575-4581 or pjmcguill@ag.tamu.edu.

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