Planning and Preparation
tender bulbs, dry in a cool, dark and airy place. Store in a
breathable container in dry peat moss in a very cool, dark spot.
young trees to prevent wind damage.
mouse/rabbit guards around trunks of young trees. Install wire mesh
guards of hardware cloth or chicken wire for your fruit trees and rose
bushes. Rabbits can girdle the trees and browse rose canes
to the graft union.
young tree trunks to prevent sunscald and splitting.
the first hard freeze, spray with anti-desiccant and/or wrap
evergreens like Douglas Fir, rhodos, azaleas and magnolias with burlap
or other protective fabric. This is also the time to winterize
up your cold frame now. It won't be as easy in late winter when
you will need it.
up additional feeders and add a heater to a bird bath to accommodate
the birds' winter needs. See Birds
the first frost warning, dig parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes,
horseradish, etc. root veggies for the table and for cool storage.
news of an overnight frost warning, pick all tomatoes, peppers, squash
and other veggies and store in a cool dark location.
can be ripened in sealed heavy-duty paper shopping bags, with a sheet
of newspaper between the layers, stored in a cool dark
place. Check them every few days to remove ripe ones, and
reseal the bag.
the pumps from your garden pond. Drain and clean for winter
storage. See Winterizing Ponds.
your garden pond is deep enough for your fish to winter there safely,
remove them to an indoor tank. Bring plants that are not winter-
hardy indoors to tubs or tanks. See Pond
finished compost to gain space in the compost box for later additions.
clear the garden of weeds before they drop their seeds and create a
problem for next year.
pesticides in a cool, dry, safe place. Check expiration
dates. Note for disposal any that will be over-age by spring.
sure your windows and doors seal well. Lady Bugs, spiders,
moths, and Box Elder bugs will find openings to come inside to escape
manure or compost on the garden. You can spade it in when the
ground thaws in spring.
Plant spring bulbs and lilies before ground freezes. See Turn
Your Garden On With Bulbs.
• Divide and
replant perennials before ground freezes.
summer and fall blooming shrubs before the ground freezes.
Pruning and Fertilizing
shrub roses when they go dormant.
not done last month, cut perennials back to 3 to 4 inches.
spring bulbs and lilies when planting.
annuals when plants cease blooming or are dead from frost.
compost or other organic matter over garden.
soil freezes, mulch trees and plants to prevent frost heaving.
necessary, water newly planted ground covers until soil freezes.
up plant debris from beds and borders (before mulching!)
clay pots, bring indoors for winter to avoid cracking. Add
container contents to compost pile when frost kills plants.
your plant performance records.
down stakes and trellises to clean and store them for next season.
down grapevines and climbing roses, lay on the ground and mulch before
ground freezes ( especially north of zone 6). See Winterizing
Roses for more information.
Your Plants Indoors
you feel sorry for people who do not have four seasons!? They don't
get the joy of cleaning up and winterizing gardens against snow, cold and
wind? They also don't get the fun (and it is
fun) of bringing plants indoors for the winter.
But because you are reading this, you most likely get that pleasure.
So, you want to do it right!Select
There are a few things you need to consider and do before cold weather
arrives. "Before" is the important word, because an early,
unexpected frost can kill your plans as sure as it will kill your plants.
Consider purchasing fluorescent "shop lights" and a 2-4 tier plant
stand. The lights can be suspended from the stand or from the ceiling
with metal or plastic "chain link" which allows you to adjust the
height to keep it 2-4" from the tops of your plants. Basements
are an ideal location for such a set-up because they tend to be cooler and
moister than the rest of the house. This is also great for starting
seeds in late winter/early spring! See more information in Indoor
Gardening and Houseplant Helper.
are a couple of things you need to consider in selecting plants
to bring indoors. First and foremost is whether
the plant is suitable for your indoor climate. An indoor climate gets
much less sunlight, so plants that thrive in full or partial shade are good
They must also be small enough to fit into your pot or container and the
root system must be comfortable in that contained area. They must also
be tolerant of the warmer and usually drier weather that exists in your home
during much of the winter.
Also consider the habits of the plant - for example, impatiens are a poor
candidate for indoor culture because of their moisture requirements and the
messy leaf and petal drop.
for Diseases and Bugs
is important to select healthy plants. The first sign of a healthy
plant is vigorous growth. Inspect your candidate
carefully. Make sure there are no insects on the plant or in the
soil. Are there holes in the leaves that suggest insects chewing on
the plant? In checking for disease, the most obvious sign is slow
growth, wilting leaves and visible signs like powdery mildew.
If your plant is diseased, look for another candidate. If insects are
present, either eliminate them, or find other plant.
Minor infestations may be taken care of with a soil drench and thorough
spraying or "dip" in an insecticidal soap mix. Check out the
Plant Problems articles on fungus
and critter problems for more information on treating affected plants.
the right pots is primarily a matter of taste. But, you should also
select containers that are large enough for the root system of your plant
now and through the winter months.
You should also select pots with drainage holes in the bottom of the pot or
container. Some pots do not have drainage holes. Many a plant is
drowned by too much watering and no place for excess water to go. A
good pot has drainage holes and a small dish underneath to capture any
excess water that seeps out. I save my take-out food aluminum
containers for use as saucers.
Do not let plants sit for more than half an hour with water in the
saucer. Drain anything that is left after that time. Your plant
will thank you for it!
have selected your plant, give it a pruning into the shape you want.
shy. A good trim will help the plant to
growth. This is particularly important for such plants as Mandevilla
Use good, quality, sterile potting soil and center your plant in the
pot. Spread out the roots and make sure that they are completely
covered with soil. Gently, firm down the soil. Water thoroughly,
but gently, using a light solution of liquid fertilizer. Add more soil
if holes or low spots occur as the soil settles. See Container
Potting and Repotting for more information.
Your plant is now tucked cozily into it's new home and will grow well thanks
to your love and attention....this is how you get that "green
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