Dear Gardening Friends,
As I write these tips it’s an amazingly sunny 50 degree spring day (Friday 26th). Just got back from a walk and it felt like spring. However that is most probably not going to happen. This is nature’s teaser. There are some things you can do now to help your garden get through the rest of the winter:
- If you haven’t put down any winter mulch on tender, newly planted or shallow rooted perennials, now that most of the snow cover is gone, it’s a good time.
- This year I got a GREAT idea for winter mulch. Instead of driving around the neighborhood cutting of the large lower limbs of discarded Christmas trees, I drove to the dump (where the village takes all the trees) and cut enough for the whole yard in about 20 minutes. It’s a wonderful way to get some quick and easy mulch.
- If you don’t have access to discarded trees you can get straw from garden supply stores.
- The importance of mulch is to help keep the soil from freezing and thawing which can damage the roots and cause heaving. The last few weeks have been a perfect example of this.
- The top inch of the soil is already soft so stick to walking on paths or walkways as much as you can.
- This is a good time to prune away any branches that have been damaged.
- Picking up downed branches is always good but be mindful of not walking on the softened ground. Reaching with a rake for branches you can’t reach from a walkway is helpful.
- Some houseplants are probably needing a little attention.
- Trim off yellowing leaves or branches.
- Check for insects. If there is sticky residue on leaves or areas under a plant that is a sign of scale, aphid or white fly. Check on line (at a .edu site) for what to do.
- By mid-February you can start repotting and taking cuttings.
- If your plant has a white crusty residue on the soil or water runs rightly through the pot when you water, the plant should be repotted. Use a good lightweight potting mix.
- This is a good time to look through catalogues and plan for the upcoming season.
- Don’t just look at the pretty flowers in catalogues, be sure to match any plants you plan to use to the growing conditions you have.