The Winter Gardener

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Winter will be upon us shortly. This does not mean garden chores are over. Now is the time to assess your garden. Get out your pad and pencil. Take notes. Make sketches.

Look at your trees and shrubs. Without leaves it’s easy to see your trees’ structure. Do you need to prune? Is there insect damage? Do your trees and shrubs need to be protected from wind and snow damage? Now is the time to get out those shears and loppers, apply winter oil, cord and burlap shrubs, pull mulch up around crowns of tender perennials.

Are there areas that would benefit from planting a new evergeen? Winter color is aesthetically pleasing and will provide shelter for birds. If you can dig the ground, you can plant. Just remember to thoroughly water every week or two and provide protection from wind and snow damage.

Most perennials can be divided now. Share with friends and family. Pot up extras and sink pots in ground to overwinter. You will have them for new beds in spring.

Plant spring bulbs. If rodents like to eat them, try covering with a wide wire mesh before adding soil. Sprinkle the ground with cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.

Do you want to add a new bed or enlarge an existing one? Take advantage of the winter by laying down an old carpet or tarp in the shape you want. Weigh it down with stones, 2×4s, bricks, or compost. The vegetation underneath will die by spring making it much easier to turn over. In spring you could also just pile on a raised layer of amended soil creating your new bed without backbreaking labor.

Now is the time to plan what you want to grow next season. Collect nursery catalogs. Order seeds and plants. Plants will be shipped at the proper growing time in your area. Seed packets will provide information for starting indoors or direct sowing.

Planning is half the work and fun. Gardening is enjoyable. Now enjoy your garden.

Resource: The Winter Gardener
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