Blanco County News
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How Does Your Garden Grow?
Brown and Black Plants
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 • Posted December 22, 2009 10:00 PM

Well, do you have brown and black plants? I do! We haven’t had a day that was warm or dry enough to trim and clean up the frozen plants.

It has been several years since we have had a hard freeze that lasted as many hours at a time. It took its toll on all of the plants. When you begin to clean up your plants, you may not want to cut the plants back all the way. Winter is only starting; there will be many more freezes before spring. Cut the plants back to firm or green stems and place mulch over the top of the roots. Mulching is the only way to protect the plants from being killed.

Christmas is almost here. There are many gifts to be purchased from nurseries and garden stores that gardeners will enjoy. Gift certificates are always good, plus gardening books written for our area of Texas. Howard Garrett and Malcolm Beck are two authors from our area. There are pots, garden art, tools, and the list goes on.

If you still have greens growing in your garden, such as collards, turnips, spinach and lettuces, pick the large, outside leaves and leave the smaller leaves to keep producing. Don’t let leaves become too old or they will be bitter.

Poinsettias are one of our favorite Christmas flowers. It’s important to keep them away from drafts of hot or cold air, in as much light as possible, and don’t over-water. They should never dry out, but letting them sit in a saucer of water isn’t good either. Plants sitting in water will become water-logged. The roots will rot and the leaves dry up and die. Check the moisture of the pot with your finger. If the pot is dry to the second knuckle, it’s time to water. Too much water doesn’t kill the plant; it’s the lack of oxygen in the soil.

To use poinsettias in flower arrangements, break or cut stems from the plants and use a flame to seal the stem. A milky substance comes from the stem. After sealing the stem, place it in water until you make the arrangements. They will last for several days.

Continue to feed house plants, gardens, and cool season annuals to keep them healthy.

Merry Christmas and keep yourselves safe.

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