Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Lower South
January, 2009
Regional Report

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Read up on new varieties to try next spring -- but don't forget to plant a few tried-and-true favorites, like these 'Bush Early Girl' tomatoes.

Plan Next Year's Garden Now

I absolutely love the winter season in the south. It brings a welcome break from the heat of summer and just sort of gives you a new start in the garden. When freezes shut down last year's garden, you can get ready to go at it again in a couple of months to create the best garden ever. Winter wipes the slate clean and says, "All right now, lets see what you can really do!"

We gardeners are eternal optimists, always looking for the perfect tomato and that new rose that is the best ever. The very cycle of the seasons feeds the hope of a new year. I often liken our landscaping and gardening to painting with nature. If I don't like the way a garden turns out, or even if I just decide I'd like to try out something new, I can always replant, redesign, and start fresh. A new canvas or a new garden planting -- they both offer the creative side of us a chance to exercise. Sort of like that Etch-a-sketch we played with as kids. You just wipe the slate clean and start scribbling again!

Tempting New Varieties
Thankfully there are always new plants that we've never grown before and new varieties of ones we have grown for years. I can't imagine a new gardening year with nothing new to try. There must be a million tomato varieties out there, but each year more show up with tempting new features -- color, shape, size, flavor, disease resistance, and the list goes on. I never grow tired of trying out new ones! Even if I did, there are all those wonderful heirlooms that I have yet to discover. Oh my. So many tomatoes, so little time!

Wintertime Soil Preparation
Winter days are great for planning a new garden. This is a good time to prepare the soil for next spring's garden too. By working in compost now, the soil will be ready for spring planting. I may even work in some leaves, as there are plenty of them this time of year. By next spring they'll be mostly decomposed and ready to do their part in building a great garden soil.

Well, I'd better go for now. I've got some searching to do for some inspirational gardening ideas. I may just go curl up with some great garden books, or perhaps a keyboard and mouse!

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