Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Protect new plantings

If you haven’t chucked out your Christmas tree, use loppers or a saw to cut off the branches and place a light layer of those branches over shallow-rooted plants in your garden. The branches help to shade the plants, preventing thawing of the soil around the plants and damage to the roots when it refreezes. Have an artificial tree? Your neighbor may be thrilled to share their fresh-cut one. Any evergreen branches from fallen trees, or that you used to decorate around your house will also help plantings survive our freeze and thaw cycles — the most dangerous part of winter for most plants.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

It’s tool clean-up time

If you haven’t already cleaned up your tools for winter, do so now. It’s much easier to take a morning or afternoon now to remove dirt and rust from gardening tools than it will be in the spring. After they are clean and dry, sharpen any tools if necessary. Then coat the metal parts with oil and give the wood a thin layer of wax. In the spring, you’ll be happy you took the time now. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

December gardening chores

Here are some December outside chores: Put a leaf or pine needle mulch over any beds of perennials. Place pine needles over strawberry beds and cut down and dispose of raspberry and blackberry canes that fruited this year. Allow leaves to remain under bushes both as protection for the roots and as a home for many moths and butterflies that spend the winter in the leaves. In the spring, those caterpillars will provide food for the birds as well as beauty for your garden.