Is Your Green Thumb Getting Itchy?

— Written By Bill Hanlin and last updated by JoAnne Gryder
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cool season veggiesThe recent warmer weather has gotten me anxious to start gardening. I know there is more cold weather to come and it is important to realize that most gardening chores will not begin for a few months. However, now is definitely time to get started in making plans for the garden.

Some vegetable plants can and should be planted in the next couple of weeks. Onion sets, cabbage, radishes and many leafy greens should be planted in February. Other cool season plants like broccoli, lettuce, and beets can be planted in March. You will want to get these plants in the ground soon so that their harvest is complete by the time the summer garden is ready to be planted.

A soil sample sent off for nutrient analysis can be very important to let you know which nutrients need to be added to your garden. Probably most important, the soil analysis will tell you what your soil pH is and if you need to add lime. Right now, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture is charging a $4 per sample fee, but beginning in April, the analysis will be free until November.

If you have not yet ordered your vegetables seeds, then you will want to get those seeds so transplants can be started in March. Many seed catalogues offer varieties that are resistant to diseases that can damage the plants during the summer. These seeds are not the genetically modified organisms that many people are concerned about, but they are normally developed by cross-pollinating different varieties.

Wilkes Extension Plant Sale.  The Wilkes Extension office is offering strawberry and blueberry plants at our annual plant sale. This year, for the first time, we are offering an everbearing strawberry named Seascape that is supposed to tolerate our hot, summer weather. Seascape will bear medium-sized berries throughout the summer. Other plants offered include Jewel strawberries and Brightwell, Climax, Ira, Onslow, Powder Blue, Premier, Tifblue and Yadkin blueberry plants. Also for the first time we are offering a new blueberry variety called Pink Lemonade.

For more information, contact our office at 336 651-7330 or go to our website at wilkes.ces.ncsu.edu.