Outdoors: Gardening tips, lawn care, bird watching, hunting and fishing


By SHANE PROPHETT, Arnall Grocery Company

The good folks at Winters Media & Publishing asked me to write an article related to gardening and the outdoors for this edition of The Weekly.

This great honor came as a surprise to me because I can tell you everything I know in one paragraph. However, after much deliberation with people that do know, I have accepted the challenge and gathered the following information to help you better enjoy your time outside this year.

Rule No. 1 (and only rule) is to get outside and try it.  You don’t have to know everything or anything for that matter, to try something.  Google it, ask a neighbor, read an article or don’t – trial and error that thing.  Whatever your method is, give it a shot.

First up is vegetable gardening.   This was once done for sustenance and income, then as a hobby to supplement what you buy at the grocery store and now coming full circle possibly back to needing to grow food for sustenance.

This time of year is for preparing soil and planning out your summer crops.  Most soil in our area is in need of lime.  Lime helps correct pH levels in your soil and is an important number to track in order to insure maximum usage of available nutrients by the roots of your plants.  You can test your soil with a do-it-yourself pH test kit or send off a soil sample through the local county extension office for a more thorough examination.

According to Moreland’s own organic gardening legend, Tom Andrews, February is a good time to set out cole crops such as cabbage, broccoli and collards.  Cole crops aren’t my favorite so lucky for me February also allows for planting good vegetables like English peas and potatoes.  Mr. Andrews adds that February and March are good times to plant and/or prune any fruit trees or fruiting vines, such as muscadines, that you may have or wish to plant.

Those interested in lawn care can continue to relax for the most part.  You can probably see the winter weeds right now, which makes them easier targets to either pull or apply a herbicide to.  Beginning in March, you can apply pre-emergent herbicides to help control any summer weeds that may rear their ugly heads. Also, just as in gardening for vegetables, February and March are the perfect time to add lime to your lawn if needed.

February and March are ideal to feed birds for observation.  Before spring green up, songbirds and other bird species are foraging for any available food.  Having a feeder full of a good bird seed will bring hours of enjoyment.  Wild birds don’t necessarily need the food but it makes for easy picking for them and enjoyment for us.

Hunters have got to finish their “honey do” lists before turkey season starts.  Valentine’s Day is the 14th of February (you’re welcome) and turkey season starts on April 2 this year.  Otherwise, this is a good time to get those deer stands in for maintenance. Don’t forget to keep a check on those trail cameras to see which deer made it through the season.

Antlers will be dropping soon so you’ll want to hunt for sheds in the near future.  Continue to supplement with feed if you are so inclined and budget allows.  This is a lean time in the woods, so feeding and food plots are very important to your deer herd and other wildlife.

Those in our community that fish need to be prepared to head out to the lake on any warm day (any cold day for that matter) in February as the crappie will surely be biting on these days.  Minnows under a float or the right color jig (you’ll have to experiment) will get the job done.

If you have a pond, February and March are good months to stock fingerlings such as bluegill and shellcrackers.  You can also stock catfish or carp.  If you fertilize your pond you will want to start that in March once the water warms a bit.

Whether you take any of the advice and use it or not, at least get outside and enjoy what God has created.  Preservation is to keep things as they are and not touch it.  Conservation involves care, management, and use.  So let’s grow some food, cut a little grass, enjoy the wildlife (viewing or as a meal) and catch some fish.  I’ll see y’all out there.

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