Thursday, December 2, 2010

Some Winter Gardening Chores

With the advent of winter, very few are thinking of garden chores but there are things you need to think about doing to get your garden ready for those warm spring days.  What you do now will help to make your garden even better this spring!

  • Any tools not likely to be used during the winter should be cleaned, and any parts likely to rust should be oiled.  This is just a good smart and frugal idea to keep you from having to replace those gardening tools this spring.
  • This is a good time to start pruning dead and dangerous limbs from trees. These should be burned in case they harbor insects and disease. You can apply tree paint to the wounds made in sawing off limbs but it is not always necessary.
  • Look over the stored vegetables frequently and remove decaying specimens.  If you have a root cellar, keep an eye on those vegetables and use or throw out any rotting.
  • Protect tender perennials from harsh winter weather. Build a wooden box with no top or bottom. Place it over the plants after the ground has frozen and fill with leaves.  This will help these tender perennials to keep from getting frost bit.
  • Cover your compost pile to prevent rains and snows from leaching out nutrients. This doesn't have to be fancy, just a plain tarp will do.  You just want to keep your compost as dry as possible so the nutrients you are getting from those microbes are being kept in your compost.
  • Check the "bones" of your garden or landscape for visual appeal. Hedges, stone walls, and pathways all contribute to the underlying structure. Either make repairs now or make a note of what you will change in the spring.
  • As houseplants are growing more slowly in winter light, cut down on watering. Keep the watering cut down by half until active growth resumes. You will need to hold off on fertilizing as well.  Be ready to give your houseplants a needed fertilizer boost once the day start getting longer.
  • Group winter houseplants near each other. The plants will form a support group that will help them cope with the low humidity of most winter homes.  They will be ready to move outside once the weather warms up.
    • Make certain that climbing roses are securely attached to their supports.  This will keep the winter snow and winds from doing any damage to the roses limbs.
    • Use small stakes or markers to mark new plantings Plastic butter knives can help you mark where you've planted bulbs or late-starting plants in the perennial garden.  This will keep you from disturbing them when you begin spring soil preparation.
    • Apply protective mulches. Do this on the perennial garden after the ground has frozen an inch or two or after the second really hard frost.

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      These are just a few chores that can be done to get your garden ready for spring.

      Do you have some winter chores that you do to get your garden ready for spring?  Share them with us...


      1. I definitely need to cut back my Rock Rose bushes and trim the Crepe Myrtles soon. Fortunately they have been in bloom up until the last week so I will probably wait until the end of December.

      2. Ack! Can it wait until after Christmas? :)
        New follower.

      3. What great tips, thanks for sharing! This time of year time goes by so fast, thus forgetting about all of your gardening essentials.


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