Along with receiving roses on Sunday, think of pruning roses. And that potato to go along with a steak dinner is best planted now. 

You don’t have to do it on the actual day usually set aside for love, but these chores need to happen in mid-February. 

Roses need to be cut back while they are dormant. Getting rid of dead canes, diseased wood and crossing branches helps ensure good spring blooms. 

You’ll need some sharp snippers for the smaller canes, heavy loppers for the bigger ones and some heavy gloves to resist thorn pricks. 

In general, you want to cut back long branches that are not part of the shape you want, canes that are obviously dead and those that cross each other. Cut back to a node (bump) with a bud facing out. Heavier limbs and those that are growing inwards can be cut with the loppers near the ground. 

When finished, your bush will look like a collection of naked limbs. They will grow new foliage and later blooms. 

Visualizing this is difficult, so check out these videos from Texas A&M.https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Aggie+rose+pruning,

https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2019/03/18/early-spring-pruning-of-roses-featured-video/ and https://extension.msstate.edu/southern-gardening/video/2019/pruning-roses

For a little history and detailed information on pruning different types of roses, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGyz4hWZscw.

After pruning, be sure and clean out old leaves and other debris under the plant. A little compost around them will help growth. 

Valentine’s Day also is the traditional time to plant potatoes. 

Potatoes grow in either the ground or containers. Pintrest has a lot of clever ideas for containers including shopping bags, trash cans, and laundry baskets. 

Most of the local big box stores, nurseries, and feed stores have seed potatoes in stock. Most are the determinate variety that include Kennebec, Red La Soda, and Yukon Gold. More exotictypes such as fingerlings also are sometimes available. 

You’ll see little “eyes” or buds. Cut the potato into pieces that each contain at least one eye. Lay them out, maybe on a windowsill, to dry for a few days. The cut edge will get a dried out leathery look. 

To prevent rotting, dip the pieces in garden sulfur, available in most garden sections. 

Plant each piece about four inches deep with eight inches to a foot between them, cover with soil, and water. Fertilize when they reach six-to-eight inches. Don’t overwater. 

They will be ready to harvest in 70 to 90 days. 

For other vegetables you can plant now, see aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/travis/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Vegetable-planting-calendar-2012-1.pdf.

Please take a survey at tx.ag/texasspeakstolet Texas A&M AgriLife Extension what you see as the issues and opportunities in our community. 

Gardening help is always available from Kaufman County Master Gardeners at kcmga.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/kcmga.

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