Even though the garden is pretty bare this time of year there is still plenty to be done in the garden. With seed companies selling record numbers of seeds this year it seems that gardeners are already buying up their seeds. If you haven’t purchased your seeds for 2021, it may not be a bad idea to go ahead and get those orders in. This includes gathering things to start your seeds such as soil, containers, and any fertilizer you may need to get your transplants started.
Winter is the ideal time to get your cool season vegetables started that need to be transplanted rather than directly sown by seed. My rule of thumb is that if it forms a head then it should be transplanted. This includes things such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Leafy greens can also be started now and transplanted, but they can also be directly sown by seed into the garden. It will take around 6-7 weeks to get a transplant large enough to go into your garden. In Wilson County we should be planting these transplants around the middle of March. Of course this all depends on the weather and as we all know the weathermen are always right.
Work on your garden layout because gardeners have the ability to over purchase plants and seeds. I can’t think of a single gardener that has planted every single plant that they have purchased. My goal this year is to develop a map and try and stick to it this year. Make sure to plant things in different spots that you grew them last year because some diseases stick around in the soil. Try and move your plant families around. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are all in the same family and should be planted in different spots each year to help suppress these diseases.
Now is also the time to purchase those bare-root fruit trees and shrubs. Many fruits seem to do better when they are planted when they are dormant. If you are looking for some easy fruits to try this year purchase some rabbiteye blueberries or blackberries. These have been very successful in Middle Tennessee and with the diversity of cultivars available now you can harvest over a long period of time.
As always, if you have any questions regarding any horticulture facet, feel free to contact Lucas Holman, Horticulture UT-TSU Extension Agent, Wilson County at 615-444-9584 or Lholman1@utk.edu.