Discover the Fun of Gardening
January 17, 2019   
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Trying to be the fun chicken parent.

Every parent wants to be the fun parent. The one who somehow never ends up with the tough chores or disciplinary duties, but gets to do the fun things like dessert for breakfast and ice cream for dinner. But we can't always be the fun parent can we? The other evening, I thought I would be the fun parent and let my girls out for a change. Don't worry, I'm not talking about Abby and Maddy. I'm talking about our other group of girls. The Chickens. There have been a few escapes lately either over the gate or under the wall. But last week, I felt like they all needed a little treat, so trying to be the fun chicken-parent, I let them all out of the chicken yard. They loved it. In the chicken yard, the grass is gone and no amount of seed or sod has brought it back. So once outside, they had free run of the grass and weeds. But unfortunately they also bee-lined, well, chicken-trotted, straight for the veggie garden, where I had to shoo them away from my tomatoes and carrots. (I was trying to be the fun chicken-parent not the give-away-the-farm chicken parent.) After a few stern words, they moved on to scratching and pecking around elsewhere.

One of the hawks that calls our yard home.
Part of my reason for letting them out was I was cleaning up the coop and chicken yard of some of the debris that had been accumulating and I needed to cart the wheelbarrow back and forth. It just seemed easier to leave the gate open than to open, block the chickens, scoot through, close the gate and repeat. So I got to my cleaning chores when suddenly I heard a mess of noise coming from behind some of our fruit trees. Every now and then some of the hens squabble over a wiggly worm or a juicy bug, so I figured that's what it was. And then I noticed a head and wings that didn't belong. Apparently a family of hawks calls our yard home for the winter, and we've seen increased activity in the yard lately (I got the picture at left of one surveying the yard from our archery target). And sure enough one of the hawks had descended on our flock of birds and was unsuccessfully trying to leave with one. The chickens actually didn't seem overly bothered by the hawk, just annoyed. At this point all of our chickens are almost twice the size of the hawks and seem to have enough self-defense sense to kick and fight them off. So fortunately no one was taken or injured. They were pretty quick to hustle back into the chicken yard when I started clapping though. So much for being the fun parent. It's not always all it's cracked up to be.

Hopefully you've enjoyed the cool weather we are having and are getting some of your January garden to-dos done. If you are caught up on garden chores and are ready to do some planting, see below for some of the best plants to get in the ground right now. Yeah it's January, yeah it's winter, but Florida is an awesome place. It's not like Vermont or Indiana or even the Carolinas. We are warm almost all year with a few brief cold snaps. Many plants, when planted while the weather is cool and the air is dry will grow roots for a few months until we get to the spring season and then they'll have enough strength for a great flush of growth or some phenomenal flowering. Plus when summer arrives, they'll be rooted and ready to take whatever Mother Nature throws their way. And you'll have lots of your garden tasks and planting done, so you can just sit back with a cool beverage and enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

Happy Gardening,
The Kerby's Nursery Family

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The better question is what can't you plant in January!

Garden Tip
What to Plant
I don't know about you, but when the highs are only in the 70s, I don't want to be inside. I want to be in the garden. Take advantage of Florida winter and get some great plants growing in your garden now. They'll have lots of time to get rooted and established before the heat of summer arrives. And planted now, you'll get to enjoy them for the entire spring season.

Shade Trees - Get ready for summertime picnics by planting a shade tree. The winter season is the perfect time to plant. And if you don't want to get your hands dirty, let Kerby's plant a tree for you with our professional installation services.  

Roses - A challenging plant for Florida, roses are not a fan of high humidity. But once established, many roses are actually quite sturdy. Problem is, when you plant during rainy season, they struggle so much with the humidity that they never get a chance to establish well. Plant now while it is cool and dry to make the most out of your rose garden. 

Azaleas and Camellias - These cold-hardy bloomers love the winter season. Plus they are perfect in the canopy of that shade tree you just planted. Camellias are blooming now and azaleas will follow in a month or so.  Plant now and you'll be ready to enjoy the show.

Crape Myrtles - For a reason we'll never understand, people want to wait to see the blooms on crapes before they plant them. But that's not until the first week of June which is starting to push into the heat of summer. Crapes are much happier planted now during their dormant season.

Privacy Hedges - Need to block out a pesky neighbor? You know, the one with the flock of chickens. Viburnums, podocarpus, ligustrums and simpson's stopper are all cold-hardy hedges that create a lovely green wall of privacy. Plant them now to get a great burst of growth in the spring.

But Wait, There's More - There are tons of other plants that are great for planting right now. Hardy fruits, herbs, perennial flowers for butterflies and hummingbirds, gardenias, the list goes on. So come on in today and see why winter in Florida isn't like winter anywhere else.

Plant Now for Great Results

Stately, evergreen shade
Starting at $79.99
Ellagance Lavender

Fragrant and beautiful
6" Pot - $7.99

A cold-hardy classic
10" Pot - $29.99

Kerby's Nursery

2311 S. Parsons Ave.

Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 685-3265

Store Hours

Monday - Saturday,  9am - 5pm
Sunday,  11am - 4pm