If April means spring to you, get out your gardening tools and get moving. A successful garden begins with good soil. Organic material is important to the soil composition. It helps with drainage and increases the microbe population. Expanded shale is used to break up hard compacted clay soils. Top dress your flower beds and containers with organic mulches.
Hopefully, you have your tomatoes, peppers, squash, and other warm-season vegetables already planted; if not get them in the ground right away. To get the highest yields, make additions of fertilizer every couple of weeks, starting about a month after transplanting or seeding.
If your yard is too small for a traditional garden plot, try gardening in containers. The bigger the container, the better! Container gardens need more attention since they dry out faster and need regular additions of fertilizer to compensate for the more frequent irrigation.
If you want to create a truly dynamic garden, inviting colorful guests like butterflies and hummingbirds are definitely the way to go. Butterflies like sunshine and plenty of space to fly around, so opt for a sunny, open spot. Both enjoy having some type of cover as a resting spot. Your garden should include some type of water feature as butterflies and hummingbirds often congregate around water.
St. Augustine and Bermuda lawns should be actively growing now; so it is a great time to apply fertilizer. A correctly fertilized lawn now will better help your lawn to handle the Texas Summer Heat!
Calling all horse owners, we’ve brought in the Purina EquiTub supplement with ClariFly! Say goodbye to flies, and hello to gastric health + optimal body condition.
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ClariFly® larvicide is expelled in manure, where it helps control house and stable fly populations by interrupting their life cycle.
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Find out more about this product here Purina EquiTub Supplement with ClariFly.
Shop local, shop J&N Feed and Seed for Purina Horse Feed & Supplements and all your horse supplies.
Keep in mind that the average last freeze for North Texas area is not until mid-March. Even so, many plants normally begin to show signs of growth in February, which makes it the perfect time, to get outside and work in the yard.
Pruning is both an art and a necessary maintenance function. Most trees and shrubs can be lightly pruned at any time; however mid-winter is generally the best time for major pruning.
Summer flowering trees and shrubs should be pruned before buds begin to swell for Spring, generally they bloom on new growth; examples are crape myrtle, butterfly bush, spiraea and honeysuckle. If those seed heads on crepe myrtles bother you, remove them this month. Just clip back the ends of the branches, do not destroy the beauty of the gracefully sculptured trunks by severe pruning. Please never top a crape myrtle. Spring flowering plants such as azalea, Carolina jessamine, wisteria, forsythia, and quince should not be pruned until after the blooms are spent.
February is the best time for pruning most roses. Remove any old and diseased canes then cut the remaining canes back by 50%. Make your cuts above a bud that faces away from the center of the plant.
Early to mid-February marks the time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide for lawns. These products kill germinating seed. A second application may be needed in late May or early June. Remember that the best defense against lawn weeds is a healthy, thick turf resulting from good management.
Trim back perennials and ornamental grasses before the new growth appears in Spring. Clean up around plants and mulch well to protect.
Thinking about a spring garden? Look for onion sets and seed potatoes, they arrive early. By planting early, plants will be off to a better start and can become adjusted before the stresses of summer arrive.
Onion sets and seed potatoes arrive mid-January at J&N Feed and Seed. Planting seed potatoes and onions are at the top of everyone’s gardening list this time of year. As everyone in North Texas knows, our late January and February weather can be a gamble— temps can be spring-like one day and fall below freezing the next. But, the weather extremes should not deter gardeners from planting during these months. Potatoes are top of the list for planting this time of year.
Other good go-to cold weather vegetables are root produce such as turnips, beets, and carrots as well as hardy leafy greens like spinach, cabbage, kale, and chard. Bulb veggies (onions and garlic), as well as asparagus crowns, can also be planted at this time.
Preparing and Planting Potatoes
When purchasing seed potatoes, look for certified seed potatoes. These are seeding potatoes that have not been treated with growth retardants to prevent sprouting. Conventional potatoes in grocery markets are typically treated with retardants.
After you have planned and prepared a garden spot with well-drained, loose soil, the seed potatoes can be prepped for planting:
Cut each seed potato into quarters (sulfur dust can be applied to the fresh cut ends) and let the potato quarters set out overnight or longer until cut sides callus over. Seed potato quarters are then ready to plant— for a good rule of thumb, potato quarters should be planted 3” to 4” deep and spaced 12” to 15” apart. To provide plants plenty of growing room, make sure rows are spaced 24” to 36” apart.
Caring for Potato Plants
Potatoes need consistent moisture, so water regularly when tubers start to form. Before the potato plants bloom, hilling should be done when the plant is about 6 inches tall. Hoe the dirt up around the base of the plant in order to cover the root as well as to support the plant. Bury the plant base in loose soil. Hilling will keep the potato plants from getting sunburned, in which case they turn green and will taste bitter. You will need to hill potatoes every couple of weeks to protect your crop.
When the potato plants have bloomed, new potatoes are ready for harvest. For larger potatoes, harvest only after plant tops has fallen over. For more information on planting seed potatoes, visit the Texas A&M website.
Other Cool Weather Vegetable Plantings
Lettuce, spinach, and cabbage can be planted at this time either by seeds or plant starts. For reference, these vegetables can be planted in February with seed or starter plants.
Stop by J&N for your seed potatoes, onion sets, and other cool-weather vegetables.
The 2021 Young County Jr. Livestock Showkicks off Wednesday, January 13, 2021, and runs through Saturday, January 16, 2021, in the Main Arena of the Young County Arena. Come out and show your support for our local kids at this great event.
Before you head to the arena, stop by J&N Feed and Seed for Sullivan Show Supplies, show feeds by Lindner, Moorman, Honor Show Chow, shavings, and more. Let our experts help you raise a winner in the ring this show season. Good luck to everyone showing this year!
Location: Young County Arena – 120 Barclay Blvd. Graham, TX
Date: Wednesday, January 13th through Saturday, January 16, 2021
Click here for driving directions to Young County Arena.
It may be chilly outside at this time of the year, but winter is a perfect time for a number of outdoor chores. Just consider how much better outdoor chores like soil preparation, planting, transplanting, and pruning can be done without toiling in hot summer temperatures.
If you need to move a plant to a different spot in the landscape, this is the month to accomplish this job. Most plants move best when they are fully dormant as a result of prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Remove some of the top growth to compensate for the inevitable loss of some of the roots. Once the plant is moved, water thoroughly, apply root stimulator, and a few inches of mulch over the root area.
January is a great month to accomplish pruning of fruit trees. Annual pruning keeps the harvest within reach, thins crowded branches, allowing more light to penetrate developing fruit and stimulates new growth for next year’s crop. Shade trees can also be pruned at this time.
Fruit trees and vines can be planted at this time as the ground usually does not freeze here in north Texas. You can also prepare the soil for new flower, rose or shrub beds by mixing plenty of organic material like compost or a flower or shrub mix. This way the soil is ready for immediate planting when temperatures get a little warmer.
Fertilize pansies to keep them actively growing. Houseplants can be fertilized with reduced rates of water-soluble fertilizer this month. Do not over-water your houseplants.
Birds of all kinds appreciate a constant source of seed, suet and water during the winter and you will enjoy the activity they create in your backyard. Just remember once you start feeding, you should keep it up through the winter.
Raising chickens in winter can be a lot of fun. Some hens love wandering around the yard and their first snow sighting can be quite entertaining. A bird’s thick feathers are a natural protective coat, so most breeds are well-equipped for winter.
Here are a few tips on how to care for chickens in the winter:
1. How to keep chickens warm in winter:
Do not add heat lamps. Chickens, especially cold-tolerant breeds, can withstand winter temperatures without supplemental heat. A chicken’s body temperature is around 106 degrees Fahrenheit, and they have their own protective layer of feathers to keep them warm.
If you feel it is necessary to provide a source of heat, only provide enough heat to raise the temperature a few degrees. The hens will adjust to the cold temperature, but if it is 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the coop and 0 degrees Fahrenheit in the run, birds will not be able to regulate their body temperature.
2. What to feed chickens in winter:
A common myth is to feed oatmeal to birds in the winter. This is not a beneficial treat for chickens. Oats contain some types of fiber that chickens can’t digest which can cause the contents of the digestive tract to thicken. This leads to a reduction in the bird’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients. Greens are also unnecessary. Hens may pick at hay and spread it around, but they are not going to eat it.
Feeding a complete layer feed like Purina® Layena®, Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3 or Purina® Organic Pellets or Crumbles will provide the necessary nutrition hens need through the winter.
3. Ensure feed and water isn’t frozen.
Consider heated waterers. Feed and water birds more often when it’s below freezing. Energy needs increase in winter. Animals expend a considerable amount of energy to stay warm and will eat more feed. Complete layer feeds include all the energy hens need. The 90/10 rule still applies in winter.
4. Allow exploration.
Birds can tolerate snow, cold air and ice water. There is very little muscle in the lower part of bird legs and feet. The movements are controlled by tendons that stretch from the upper part of the legs down to the toes. \Secondly, the blood entering the lower legs and feet are cooled by the blood returning to the heart. The blood returning is thus warmed by the blood going to the toes. The tissue receives just enough heat to avoid frostbite while also being provided with enough oxygen to keep things functioning.
5. Collect eggs more frequently.
Temperatures below freezing result in frozen eggs. As the egg freezes, the contents expand and will cause the egg to crack.
6. Keep the chicken coop draft free.
But don’t seal it completely. Some air needs to be exchanged to prevent ammonia build up. Open the top vent or higher windows slightly so fresh air can enter and stale air can exit.
7. Keep the chicken coop dry.
Remove any wet spots daily. Provide more bedding than you would in other seasons so birds have a place to burrow and stay cozy.
8. Continue offering activities in the chicken coop.
Hens will spend more time in the coop, so offer enrichment. Logs, sturdy branches or chicken swings can work well and place a Purina® Flock Block® supplement in the coop for a nutritious place to peck.
Working in your garden is an excellent escape during the holidays. It’s a great time of year to do some of the heavy work in the landscape as opposed to sweating it up in the heat of the summer.
Don’t put up the mower yet. Although turf grasses have stopped growing, you can use the mower to chop up and recycle the leaves back into the lawn or for a compost pile.
Prepare gas-powered engines for winter. The owner’s manual is the best guide to winterizing a lawn mower, tiller, garden tractor or other power equipment.
Drain and store garden hoses and watering equipment in a readily accessible location. Lawns and other plants may need an occasional watering during a prolonged dry spell.
In general, once the weather gets and stays cold, pruning of deciduous plants (ones that lose their leaves) can be safely done. Evergreen hedges can be sheared or cut back in the winter also. Wait until February to prune your roses. Remember – Do Not Top your Crapemyrtles! Simply prune to remove seed heads and shape.
Prepare for the cold weather before it hits! One of the best things you can do for your landscape plants is to provide a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch. Mulching is necessary year round but during the colder periods, it provides a layer of insulation for the roots. Water your landscape well before a cold spell. A drought-stressed plant is more susceptible to freeze damage. For more tender plants, purchase frost cloth for extra protection. Cover the plant completely allowing the edges to come all the way to the ground, utilizing the heat which radiates from the ground.
December is a perfect time to plant trees and shrubs so they can develop a strong root system for next Spring. Cool weather color such as Pansies, Snapdragons, Cyclamen, Flowering Cabbage and Kale add splashes of color to your landscape. Spring flowering bulbs can be planted now once they have been properly chilled.
Make your home beautiful for the Holidays with a stunning assortment of floral quality Poinsettias, Cyclamen, freshest greenery and Christmas Trees. Add a mix of new indoor and tropical plants to energize your home décor.
Remember to provide food and water for the birds this winter. You can attract just as many birds with a bird bath as with food, especially during the dry spells. To draw a diversity of birds provide a variety of seeds, like sunflower, thistle, safflower, and millet; plus suet. Once you begin putting out bird food, continue feeding them through the springtime.
Winter is upon us and egg production tends to slow down in late fall due to the shorter days. Lighting is a huge component to this decrease as well as the temperature drop. A laying hen’s endocrine system is stimulated by light so the shorter days slow egg production or can stop it completely. Some flock owners look at winter as a dormant break for their laying hens. Other owners like to keep the production throughout the winter months. In order to do this, hens need more than 14 hours of light during the day.
A nine-watt compact fluorescent bulb is all that’s needed for a typical backyard coop. Plug the light into a timer and have it come on early enough in the morning to give the birds 15 hours of daylight, and egg production will be improved through the shorter days of winter.The light needs to light up the largest area possible. Clean the lamps once a week to keep them clean to output as much light as possible.
Start this process in late fall since the lighting changes at that time. Make sure to hang the lamp or bulb up in the coop where the chickens can’t snuggle up to the lamp and cinge there feathers. Make sure the light reaches the whole coop and offers heat throughout.
Other Tips on Winterizing:
Keep the coop dry and clean. The best way to do this is to keep make sure the coop will not have standing water if rain comes. Make sure to replace the bedding with dry bedding each week.
Bedding also provides insulation for the chickens. Cover large holes where drafts or critters can enter. Be careful not to cover up all the holes so proper ventilation can occur.
Freezing temperatures can freeze up the water source. Think about getting a heated water source or pour fresh water each day.
It’s important to gather eggs daily because those can freeze as well.
Throw down extra feed or corn before they head to roost at night. This will provide energy and keep them warm at night.
Your flock needs some time and attention during the winter months to keep up with egg production. The extra work is worth it! You’ll have a full carton of eggs all winter!