Flower Beds:  Now is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Work bulb fertilizer into the soil at recommended rates. Sow seeds now of Poppies, bachelor’s button, larkspur, sweet peas and other winter annuals. You will be rewarded next spring.  Cut mums back to within a few inches of the ground after they have finished blooming. Now is the time to plant cool season annuals such as pansies, snapdragons, stock and ornamental cabbage.

Maintenance:  Clean flower beds of debris and rake beneath roses and fruit trees. Fallen leaves, spent blooms and spoiled fruit can harbor insects and diseases.

Mulching: Now is a good time to mulch flower beds and shrubs. Two to three inches of bark or pine straw will help to prevent alternate freezing and thawing during cold winter months.

Composting:  Choose a hidden area of the garden and begin collecting grass clippings, leaves, spent flowers vegetable plants, and vegetable trimmings from the kitchen. Add an occasional thin layer of soil and water to keep the pile damp but not soggy. Turn on a regular basis, and watch it change into rich, organic goodness for your garden.

Geneva Thomas, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


Now is the time to tidy what remains of our summer gardens. Removing plant debris this year, discourages diseases and insects that may return next spring.

Perennials can be divided and replanted at this time.

Gathering all the vegetables from the vegetable patch will keep “Jack Frost” from getting the last tomatoes. Cultivation of the garden area in winter reduces weeds and grass problems by exposing their roots to freezes.

Pansies should be planted in rich, moist soil in sun or light shade. Feed them with a balanced fertilizer or blood meal. Control pill bugs, slugs and snails with commercial snail bait. They love pansies.

Have a soil test. If lime is needed and applied in the fall it will be more effective for the spring garden.

Mulch plantings to protect from winter. Grass and shrubs should not be lacking moisture going into a hard freeze. Water well.

Composting all those leaves this month will pay off in the spring.

Jackie Hope, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Posted in Seasonal Gardening Prep