Start off your garden year right by laying the foundation for a great garden.
Tending Your Tools -- Clean up and fix up before plants really get growing. Rake and dispose of leaves, pull obvious weeds, spruce up hand tools and power tools.
Planting -- As long as you can easily work the soil, get planting those bare-root trees and shrubs as well as bare-root roses.
Planting After the Thaw -- You can plant container-grown trees and shrubs now in the Deep South. In the Upper South, wait until at least a month before your region's last average frost date for best success.
Pruning Roses -- Prune deciduous fruit trees and also prune roses. Also spray them with horticultural oil to prevent insect problems later.
Pruning Trees and Shrubs -- Prune trees and prune shrubs. Be careful with flowering trees and shrubs -- you don't want to trim off developing buds! And don't trim off frost damage yet until all danger of frost is passed. With oaks and walnuts in the South, prune only between December 1 - February 1 or July 1 - October 1 to prevent wilt disease.
Start Seeds Indoors -- Start seeds indoors, if you like, for warm-season annuals, such as tomatoes, marigolds, peppers, cosmos, zucchini, impatiens, salvia, basil, and others. Otherwise, wait until all chance of freezing temperatures has passed -- if they haven't already -- and buy established seedlings at the garden center to plant outdoors then.
Lawn Fertilizer Calculator -- Fertilize cool-season lawns, that is, lawns planted with ryegrass, bluegrass, and fescue. Try our handy lawn fertilizer calculator so you know exactly how much to buy and apply. You can also fertilize your lawn organically by spreading 1/4- to 1/2-inch compost on the lawn or using one of the organic lawn fertilizers now available at some more progressive garden centers.
Garden Journal -- If you haven't already, start a garden journal or file. Tuck into it names of plants you like, magazine pictures, plant labels and seeds, and anything else that suits your fancy. If you're feeling crafty, make your own journal.
Garden Planning and Landscaping -- While you're doing your garden planning, check out the entire section on garden planning and landscaping at BHG.com. It covers everything from assessing your landscape needs to putting it down on paper to choosing the best plants for you.
Garden Plans -- For specific ideas and layout plans, go to BHG.com's Garden Plans. There are a number of great combinations for everything from shade to property lines to front entries.