Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 286 7 | Winter 2017 Winter 2017 | Dreaming of Spring: Tips and Tricks to Prep Your Garden Inarguably, the vibrancy and excitement of the holiday season can make the months that follow seem dull by comparison. Even in the sunny South, winter can become clouded by a post-Christmas slump and cold, damp skies. One way to add color to this seemingly bleak stretch is to plan your spring garden. No expert with a trowel? No worries — these basic tips can help you start creating your own Garden of Eden. Get to know your zone. A logical first step is to learn what plants are likely to be successful in your area. All of Horry County is encompassed by Zone 8 on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which measures the region’s average annual minimum temperatures (and therefore, what plants can survive). Here are some of the best, most manageable selections for Zone 8: Roses. Go ahead and get roses in the ground now so they’ll be ready before that brutally hot Southern sun arrives. Try disease-resistant shrub types like Carefree Beauty, Knock Out Roses or Cramoisi Superieur. Perennials. For those of us not blessed with a green thumb, there are perennials. Try old- fashioned, hard-to-kill favorites like Crinum or Phlox. Herbs. These are practical and pretty! Start with chives, thyme, oregano or rosemary. The Clemson Cooperative Extension's Home & Garden Information Center provides a wonderful online resource for gardening and agriculture, among other subjects — learn more at Plan to spring forward! With a nip still in the air and creepy crawlies still out of sight, February and early March are ideal times to improve your soil and prep your garden for spring blossoms. To nurture your soil, start by using a garden fork on dry ground. Add in organic matter, like crumbled leaves or compost — this will help with fertility and drainage. If you have pre-existing plant beds that you want to use again this year, consider using a pre-emergent weed killer. This type of herbicide kills weeds before you even see them, so it’s important to distribute the product evenly. Note that you should not use it where you plan to sow seed and that it is not effective on weeds that are already showing. If you are planning on planting vegetable seedbeds, now is also a good time to remove all existing weeds and add in compost. After you do that, cover the prepped beds with black plastic or a tarp to keep the soil as dry as possible until it’s time to plant in spring. Breathe it all in. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with your planning and planting! Take a note from nature and toss seeds about your garden like confetti — something naturally magnificent may come of it. Experiment with a new vegetable, play with textures and colors, or plot your dream garden online with the interactive tool at Maybe it’s as simple as moving a bird feeder to a spot where you can watch it from your kitchen window. In addition, mild winter weather is the perfect time to work on that garden project you’ve been putting off because it was too hot or too buggy. Bust out the ole hammer and nail, and put together the arbor of your dreams; get crafty with do-it-yourself window boxes; or, grab the kids and spend an afternoon fashioning a birdhouse. You can find endless inspiration and helpful guides at Although gardening can be physically tiring, it can also be rewarding. Remember that your garden should make you happy — don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to make it perfect, just do your best and enjoy your time connecting with nature. Come up with a creative flower bed idea? Plant an impressive lineup for spring? We’d love to see! Share your photos with us on Learn how to correctly and safely manage any weeds in your garden by visiting www.clemson. edu/extension and exploring helpful articles such as "Managing Weeds in Warm-Season Lawns."