Things may be a bit different wherever you live in this great country of ours, but here, in central Virginia, it is unseasonably warm for the middle of February. While atypical temperatures are great for the heating bill and afford an opportunity to avoid cabin fever, a warm weather Winter can cause some problems and concerns for gardeners and fruit growers. So, here’s my advice:
1.) Get ready for Spring – While the weather’s nice, head out to the garden or flower beds and do some clean-up, pruning, and preparation. Were there any tasks that you didn’t finish in the Fall? Are there some tasks that you generally wait until the busy Spring season to tackle that you can work on now? This would also be a great time to prune trees and shrubs (which I did this weekend) and cut back any perennials you may have left go. Also, while it’s generally best to amend soils in the Fall, you may take advantage of this time to work some organic matter or compost into your beds.
2.) Experiment – Why not try planting some cool season crops? This weekend, I stuck a few kale seeds in the ground (Blue Scotch Curled from Baker Creek) just to see what will happen. It’s certainly warm enough, and looks like it will remain that way for the next couple of weeks. If nothing happens, I lose a few seeds. If they germinate, I may get an early season treat.
3.) Try not to fret – This may be harder for those of us who grow vegetables and fruits. If you check out my recent Instagram post, you’ll see that the flower buds on my Santa Rosa Plum look like their about ready to pop. While it’s nice to see (and smell) budding trees in late Winter, it’s basically every fruit grower’s nightmare. Those tender buds and flowers can easily be decimated by the next freeze, spelling the end of any tasty Summer fruit. In reality, for a small-scale grower, there’s not a lot that can be done, so try not to worry about it too much. (If anyone has some advice related to this topic, however, feel free to let me know).
4.) Enjoy it – I mean, how can you not enjoy 70 degree weather in the middle of February!?
There you have it. Let me know if you have any gardening activities that you like to do during warm winter spells.