A Note From Emilee
Don't Toss those Poinsettias!
Many people purchase or are gifted poinsettias, Euphorbia pulcherrima, during the holiday season. After the holidays, when it's time to start packing away all of the decorations we enjoyed around our homes, some people also discard these lovely tropical plants in the process. Poinsettias are native to Mexico and Central America, where they can thrive year-round. Here in eastern North Carolina, poinsettias can thrive year-round as house plants if given proper care.
Here are some tips for maintaining healthy poinsettias long after the holiday season is through:
-Remove the decorative foil from the container and discard. Although attractive, the wrapping prevents water from draining out of the container
-Place the plant in a sunny window that receives at least 6 hours of sun a day
-Avoid placing the plant near cool drafts or heaters. The ideal temperature range for poinsettias is between 55
°F and 75
-Avoid over-watering by waiting until the surface of the soil is dry, then water thoroughly in the sink, letting all excess water drain out the bottom of the pot
-When nighttime temperatures remain above 55
°F, you can move your poinsettia outdoors, starting in a shady area and gradually increasing the amount of sunlight as the plant acclimates. Fertilize every few weeks during the warm months with an all-purpose fertilizer. When temperatures drop again in the fall, it's time to bring your plant back indoors.
January Tips and Tasks
Tips and Tasks:
January is the perfect time to begin a garden journal. Include tasks and information like copies of your garden plan, soil test results, varieties grown, fertilizers used, weather conditions, successes and challenges.
Keep an eye out for fungus gnats, mealybugs, aphids and white flies. Make sure you get problem pests accurately identified before applying pesticides. If plants are pale and spindly, they may need more light. Provide supplemental lighting with grow lights for 10-12 hours a day or move to a moderately lit window.
The best way to control fungus gnats in houseplants is to modify the habitat to remove their breeding grounds. Fungus gnats require moist, organic soil so be careful to avoid overwatering your plants. The surface of the soil should dry out to the touch and the container should feel light for its size before watering. Do not allow any water to stand in saucers or decorative outer pots. Avoid using incompletely composted organic matter in potting soil and remove dropped leaves, flowers and other plant debris as they fall on the surface of the potting mix.
-Plan beds for spring planting and order seeds. Cut back ornamental grasses and liriope in late January or early February before new growth begins. Stack cut grass loosely in the compost pile or along the edge of the wood line to allow pollinators and other beneficial insects that might be in them to emerge later in the season. Rake up and compost fallen blossoms from camellia bushes to discourage petal blight.
-Set out asparagus crowns in January or February but wait a year before harvesting spears from this perennial crop. Sow seeds of garden peas, snow peas and sugar peas directly in the garden from mid-January through late February. Start seed for spring crops of broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale and swiss chard to have transplants ready for early March. These crops grow best in direct light and cool temperatures.
-Prune blueberry bushes in January or February. Remove dead, diseased, weak or crossing stems. On mature bushes, removed one or two of the oldest, thickest canes each year. Apply horticultural oil spray to fruit trees to control mites, scale and other overwintering insects.
-If starting indoors, provide supplemental light for sturdy, healthy seedlings. If you have not soil tested in the past three years, send in samples now to determine which nutrients your garden needs. Soil samples are currently subject to a peak season sample fee.
Don't apply fertilizers to dormant lawns. Apply lime only if indicated by soil test results. Centipede naturally likes a lower soil pH than other grasses.
Trees and shrubs
Broken, dead or diseased limbs can be removed from trees and shrubs anytime during the year.
February is an epic month for planting vegetables. Here's a list of dates so you can start sorting seeds and planning transplants.
Lettuce 2/1 - 4/10
Arugula 2/15 - 3/31
Asparagus 2/15 - 3/31
Broccoli 2/15 - 4/15
Cabbage 2/15 - 4/15
Carrots 2/15 - 3/31
Cauliflower 2/15 - 4/15
Collards 2/15 - 6/30
Kale 2/15 - 6/31
Kohlrabi 2/15 - 6/30
Leeks 2/15 - 6/30
Mustard 2/15 - 6/30
Parsley 2/15 - 4/15
Parsnips 2/15 - 4/15
Peas (English/Garden) 2/15 - 4/15
Potatoes 2/15 - 3/31
Radishes 2/15 - 6/30
Rutabagas 2/15 - 4/15
Spinach 2/15 - 6/30
Please note that the Plant Clinic will be closed from December 20 through March 3rd. Starting in March the new clinic hours will be Tuesday through Thursday, 9-12 and 1-4. Emilee Morrison, the Agent, will be available while the clinic is closed if you have any garden questions.
10th Regional School Garden Training
This day long workshop will provide participants with the tools needed to implement and effectively utilize school gardens. Participants will include teachers, school administrators, Extension Agents, and Master Gardener Volunteers. Pre-registration is required. Follow the link to learn more.
25th Small Fruit Production Workshop- Burgaw
29th Onslow County Landscape Contractor Pro Day 9-12
Topics will include winter weed ID, reading pesticide labels, common landscape problems, and climate and the landscape. 2 hours of Pesticide Credits D,H,L,N, and X. Call (910) 455-5873 to register.
1st Backyard Birding Workshop 10-12
Do you enjoy watching birds in your backyard? Join a Cornell Ornithology Lab Ambassador in a workshop on bird identification and habitat needs. This class is free, but pre-registration is required. Call (910) 455-5873 to register.
11th Eastern NC Nursery Conference
Landscapers and nursery producers:
13th Southeast Trees and the Law Symposium
22nd Introduction to Growing Vegetables and Fruits in Coastal Carolina
Join Onslow County Cooperative Extension agents in an interactive workshop on growing your own food in coastal Carolina. Topics will include starting from seed, preparing your soil, fruit and vegetable basics, and disease and insect management.
Cost is $15 and includes refreshments, lunch, and program materials. Pre-registration is required by February 17th. Call (910) 455-5873 to register.
Rain barrels are currently for sale at the Onslow office of N.C. Cooperative Extension. These roughly 50-gallon food-grade rain barrels come complete with screened inlet, brass faucet and 1.5 inch overflow outlet. The cost is $60 for a ready-made, black, unpainted rain barrel. The rain barrel can easily be painted to stand out or blend in with its surroundings. Call (910) 455-5873 to get yours today!
Onslow County Beekeepers' Association Meeting
Second Tuesday of each month at 7pm.
Contact: Curt Hildt, President 910-545-8582
Onslow County Master Gardener Volunteer Association Meeting
Second Thursday of each month.
Onslow County Farmers' Market Board Meeting
November 20, 2019 at 5:30pm
If you have questions about lawn, landscape or garden problems, contact your local Cooperative Extension office. In Onslow County call 455-5873, Mon - Fri. 8 am - 5 pm, or visit us online anytime at
. While you are there, you can post your questions to be answered by email using the "Ask an Expert' widget (in the upper left hand corner).
North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.