The year in review was a favorite topic of news programs and newspapers as 2007 drew to a close. As I watched or read about the events that happened, I found myself thinking: What happened in 2007? I thought that it happened in another year. Or, events that happened early in 2007 seemed to have happened just yesterday.
So it is good to refresh your memory from time to time. There also were a number of shows geared toward planning your finances, time and other aspects of life for 2008.
In regard to your landscape and gardens, it is good to review what happened last year and to use that information to make plans for this year.
When you start your review, you need to evaluate what worked for you last year and where you had problems. I know in my landscape there were problems with scale insects on my hollies and azalea lacebugs on my azaleas.
Some plants such as azaleas have specific insect problems every year; therefore, if you had insects on these plants last year, there is a good chance that you will have them again this year, so I plan to start scouting for these insects early in the spring. This will allow me to control the insects before their populations build to excessive numbers.
It is easier to control a few insects early in the season than trying to control them when the temperature is hot and they are reproducing at a rapid rate.
Weeds are another problem that you can use a plan to help control. You need to know what weeds you have in your lawn, flower beds or vegetable garden. This will give you insight into what control methods to use and when to apply herbicides.
Most of the weeds you are fighting will be annual weeds that can be controlled with pre-emergent herbicides. However, there are cultural practices that you can use to reduce the number of weeds. In my lawn, lespedeza is the main weed problem. Lespedeza is a legume, and it likes an area that receives very little nitrogen fertilizer. I have centipede grass, which has a low nitrogen requirement. So, the best growing conditions for the weed is also the best conditions for the grass.
I can increase the amount of nitrogen that the centipede gets and can reduce the amount of lespedeza. Other weeds have growing conditions that they like. If you know these conditions and can change them, you can reduce the amount of weeds in your yard.
Good planning is essential to having a good vegetable garden. There are a number of questions that need to be asked about last year's garden. The first question is did I plant too much or not enough of certain vegetables. Looking back at my garden, I planted too many tomatoes and not enough squash.
The second question is about the varieties I used. I look at how well they produced and their flavor. I try new varieties each year. I will plant a new variety of squash along with the ones that I have planted in the past. I also try new varieties to see whether they are resistant to insects and diseases.
The third question is about planting dates. Did I plant too early or too late? You need to get your vegetables in as soon as possible. Earlier-planted vegetables have less insect problems than later-planted vegetables.
To help answer these questions about your lawn, shrubs and vegetable garden, keep a record of what you did. All you need for record-keeping is a calendar and a notebook. You can record when you put out your herbicides, fertilizers and insecticides and what products were used.
In the vegetable garden, I record when I planted, what varieties were planted, the yield, and where in the garden each type of vegetable was planted. You need to rotate where you plant vegetables, and the easiest way to remember this is to keep a record.
The next time you can't work in your garden because of rain or cold weather, use that time to make plans for your garden.
Columbia County Extension Agent Charles Phillips can be reached at (706) 868-3413 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Extension Web address is www.ugaextension.com/columbia.
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