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List of garden chores for Jan./Feb.

Even in the dead of winter, there's plenty to keep gardeners busy.

Here's a list of chores for January and February compiled from the Midlands Master Gardeners Association Calendar and "Month-by-Month Gardening in the Carolinas" by Clemson's Bob Polomski.

JANUARY

- Start a garden journal.

- Sharpen garden hand tools with a file.

- Organize seed packets to create a sowing schedule.

- Cool-season grasses need an application of a complete fertilizer this month. Check labels before using fertilizers.

- Avoid the spring rush and take soil samples. Your county Clemson Extension Service will test your soil and tell you what it needs.

- You can plant asparagus crowns now through February, and sow chives, basil, fennel, mustard and garden peas.

- Amend the garden with organic matter. Turning over the soil will expose any over-wintering insects or larva.

- Keep pansies deadheaded.

- Mulch strawberry plants with pine straw.

- Plant and transplant ornamentals. Keep mature size and shape in mind.

- Avoid pruning trees and shrubs that seem damaged by sudden frost. Wait until the plants bud; then remove the full extent of damage.

- Water outdoor plants well a few days before the arrival of cold fronts, but not just before.

- After a hard freeze, pinch back damaged buds and flowers on winter annuals to promote lush and continuous growth.

- Remove spent camellia blooms to prevent petal blight.

- Prune muscadine and bunch grapes. Attach them to wire supports.

- Turn over the soil in vegetable beds to expose insects.

FEBRUARY

- Apply fertilizer to rye grass.

- Plant bare-root deciduous shrubs while they're dormant, about a month before the last average freeze.

- Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to control summer annual weeds. The temperature is warm enough for application when forsythia and dogwood bloom. Continue to remove winter weeds.

- Follow soil-test recommendations for the proper amendments to your soil and the plants you wish to grow.

- Set out bare-root roses.

- Start seeds for spring annuals indoors.

- Continue to feed pansies every 10 to 14 days with liquid fertilizer. Fertilize perennials now to supply nutrients. Feed iris with bone meal. Avoid getting fertilizers directly on foliage.

- Prune stone fruits.

- Prune rose bushes, except spring-blooming climbers.

- Begin heavy pruning.

- Do not prune spring-blooming vines or plants. Wait until their flowering is over.

- Megan Sexton

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