The holidays are here and winter is upon us. As life moves indoors with shorter days and colder nights take some time to ensure your yard and garden stay healthy and prepare for warmer days in the New Year.
Some vegetables actually thrive when they go through a frost. The cold makes the vegetables produce extra sugars that can make some of them taste less bitter. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts both like cooler weather. Many winter greens can survive even cooler temperatures and taste great in soups so plant your kale, cabbage, celery, leeks, and root vegetables now.
This is a great time for planting bare root trees and shrubs. Planting during cooler months ensures that the roots have time to settle before the above ground growth period of spring. The damp soil helps the plants get established. Just be sure to mulch and keep the trees watered every two weeks until the ground freezes. Evergreen trees can be planted this time of year as well. Just be sure they have some time to store nutrients from the earth before everything freezes for a deep winter nap.
When it is too cold for planting outside bring plants indoors with container gardens and don’t forget your protected areas like patios & porches. Herbs, leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, and chili peppers all grow well indoors. You can also force bulbs indoors and replant them outside in the spring. Flowers like paperwhites and amaryllis are very common this time of year and will bloom well into the holiday season. Just be sure the bulbs have been properly chilled prior to planting, which mimics the fall frost. In fact, now is a good time to chill bulbs for April and May blooms.
You can get a lot more life out of your tools and hoses if you take some time now to organize and clean everything. Unhook your hoses and drain them before bringing them in so they don’t freeze outside in the cold weather. Wipe down and store your garden tools getting the dirt and moisture off of them to prevent rust. If you have one of our core aerators this is a good time of year to brush out the cores and clean them up. If there are any rough spots lightly filing the tubing inside can help prevent clogging in the future. While organizing make note of anything that needs to be repaired or replaced so you’ll be ready for next year.
Finally, enjoy your outdoor spaces in the winter. Holiday lights are beautiful this time of year and can really make your yard an inviting place to be. Just be sure to keep your space warm with space heaters and fire pits and maybe some blankets so everyone stays cozy. While you’re at it, don’t forget the birds. Well placed bird feeders bring beauty into your yard when natural seed sources are depleted. Sunflower seeds, suet, peanuts, cracked corn and good mixed seed are all great to put out. A Yard Tree Bird Center allows for multiple feeders so you can attract a variety of birds to your yard.
Most importantly, enjoy the holidays and look forward to more great gardening in the year ahead.
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