|Lawn Care For Busy People|
Preparing The Garden For Winter
Are you like me? Sad to see the summer end but at the same time relieved that there is one less task to tend to. Weeding, watering, pruning, and more weeding is over for this year and with a few more chores the outdoor gardening year draws to a close. Most of what needs to be completed is a matter of cleaning up and covering up. Practical steps to preparing your outdoor garden for winter involve:
1. Protecting plants. There are different opinions concerning whether to cut down or leave plants standing through the winter. Here on the prairies most people leave their perennials standing for a variety of reasons. In particular, trapping the snow cover is important for protection of plants and retaining moisture. Snow cover acts the same as good mulch by insulating the soil. Many perennial stems and seed heads are also very attractive for winter interest and provide food for the birds. After the ground freezes, mulch perennials and shrub beds with pine needles, compost, peat moss, or chopped leaves. This protects the soil and plant roots and moderates the effects of extreme temperature changes during winter periods of freezes and thaws.
2. Cleaning-up the garden. Harvest warm-season crops such as tomatoes even though they are still green. Lie out on windowsills; or layer in boxes with newspapers between the layers of tomatoes. They will slowly ripen or you can use green tomatoes for fried green tomatoes or various green tomato recipes. Pull out any remaining crops or spent annuals; clean up remaining debris and weeds to decrease the possibility of disease problems in the spring.
3. Evaluating your garden design. Before you start winterizing your garden, take a few minutes to review what worked and what didn't and make note of any areas that you would like to change in the spring.
4. Prepare the soil for early spring seeding. Turn over the garden soil late in the season while amending with organic matter such as leaves, compost, or well-rotted manure. In the spring, a light raking is all that is needed.
5. Caring for trees and lawns. Protect the tender bark of young trees from rabbits and gnawing critters by wrapping stems or trunks with chicken wire or commercial tree-guard products. To prevent rodents from nesting near buildings and trees, trim tall grass, and remove weeds. Deeply water trees and shrubs so that they go into winter well hydrated. Don't prune shrubs and trees as it may stimulate new growth just before the harsh weather. Cut lawns and fertilise if you wish with a low nitrogen 'winter' blend. Use grass clippings for mulch or compost. Never send them to the landfill, as they are excellent fertiliser left on the lawn (if they are not too long) and/or make terrific compost/mulch dug straight into the garden or used for pathways. Once rotted on garden pathways, dig into the garden and replace with new grass clippings.
6. Planting before winter. Now is the time to plant bulbs. Garden centres carry many varieties suitable for the prairies. Remember: buy good quality as cheap is not better ? the larger the bulb ? the larger the bloom. Look for plumpness, firmness, clean skin, and surface. Directions for planting are included with the package.
7. Composting. Compost dead plant debris including leaves. Leaves are a valuable natural resource. Rather than a nuisance, they are the best soil amendment as well as terrific mulches. Leaves take very little effort to recycle into a wonderful soil conditioner ? leaf mould ? for the yard and garden. You can make leaf mould by the same process nature does. Pile up moist leaves and wait for them to decompose or shred the leaves into smaller pieces before piling them up. If you wish, you can enclose the pile with chicken wire, snow fencing, or something similar. In the spring, I rake up dry leaves and dig them straight into the vegetable garden.
8. Cleaning your tools. Clean the soil from all your gardening tools, oil any wooden handles and moving parts, sharpen any blades, and then store them in a dry place for the winter.
9. Water Gardening. Bring in pumps, drain, clean, refill (if necessary) and store tender water plants prior to freezing.
10. Bringing in your indoor plants. Before bringing in any houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors, examine them for critters, wash them, and spray with soapy water or insecticidal soap. Use sterilised potting soil purchased from garden centres or shopping malls if re-potting your plants. Don't use garden soil as it may harbour insects, weed seeds, disease, and fungi.
Gwen Nyhus Stewart, B.S.W., M.G., H.T., is an educator, freelance writer, garden consultant, and author of the book The Healing Garden: A Place Of Peace ? Gardening For The Soil, Gardening For The Soul. She owns the website Gwen's Healing Garden where you will find lots of free information about gardening for the soil and gardening for the soul. To find out more about the book and subscribe to her free Newsletter visit http://www.gwenshealinggarden.ca
Gwen Nyhus Stewart © 2004 ? 2005. All rights reserved.
Gardening for Kids
Children are continually bombarded with advertising for fast food and unhealthy treats. One of the most important lessons you can teach them is how to tend and grow their own food from the garden.
Furniture Benches Are Perfect For Every Outdoor Space
The task of selecting outdoor furniture for your natural spaces can seem daunting at times. There are just so many options to choose from that many people get confused browsing through the large collections that can be found in catalogues, stores and even online.
Growing Great Potatoes
Potatoes are so easy to grow in the no dig, organic way. They are one of the top three in vegetable growing due to their popularity and versatility. Boil 'em, mash 'em, fry 'em, bake 'em. It's hard to go wrong with this staple in the diet.
Chicken Soup for the Soil
Keeping Your Soil Healthy
Mosquitoes in Your Garden? Try Planting These
If you are a serious gardener, you spend lots of time outdoors. And, for sure, you would rather be tending your plants than swatting mosquitoes.
Using Annuals in Your Perrenial Garden
Annuals in your pernnial garden are something to think about! Annuals give you season long color, easy propogation, they're cost efficient, and provide first season interest.
Outdoor Furniture: Exploring the Benefits of Teak
Of the many types of materials that are available for the construction of outdoor furniture, teak is often overlooked. This beautiful wood ? of tropical origin ? adds character and elegance to your outdoor design through a blending of nature and man-made elements which provide an outstanding aesthetic presentation to any yard.
Adirondack Chairs - How to Choose One
In Blue Mountain Lake, New York, you will find a unique museum called the Adirondack Museum. According to the experts that run this museum, the Adirondack chair was originally called the Westport chair, named after a small town located nearby Adirondack Mountains. The design of the chair was first created back in 1900 by Thomas Lee. On a mission of designing a chair that could be used indoors or outdoors and one that was overly comfortable, he began his work, using standard boards and nails.
How to Grow Strawberries
In addition to the traditional strawberry patch, there are as many ways to grow strawberries as there are to eat them! Grow strawberries in a bed, hydroponically, as a ground cover, as an ornamental patio plant, or in a hanging basket.
Teak Furniture: The Premier Outdoor Furniture
When selecting furniture for their outdoor spaces, many people purchase pieces made with teak, a hard strong durable golden-brown wood, which is both resistant to the elements and requires little maintenance.
Grow Herbs in your Garden for Pleasure and Profit
Herbs can add a touch of magic to your garden with their supernatural associations and practical uses.
What to Feed Your Fish During Colder Winter Months
With air and water temperatures dropping in most parts of the country, now is the time to greatly reduce the amount of food you are feeding your fish.
"Organic gardening is not just the avoidance of chemicals, in the larger view, it is organic living using nature's laws." I read this quote by an unknown person sometime ago and realized that my parents and others like them were organic gardeners long before the current resurrection of these principles. They didn't use chemicals on the food they would feed to their children and gardening was a part of daily living to ensure there was sufficient food to preserve for the long winters. Everything was re-cycled and kitchen scraps were routinely thrown onto the garden to replenish the earth. Organic fertilizers such as manure were used and the only fertilizer on the roses was bone meal. My mother and father produced the best tasting vegetables and lots of them ? enough to feed a family of seven throughout the winter. Birds, worms, and other signs of a living earth were welcomed into the garden.
A Garden Bench: A Beautiful Addition To Any Garden
Okay, so you have spent hours upon hours creating the perfect garden. You have chosen only the choicest flowers, agonized for days over their placement, and even bought that much too expensive antique statue to set it all off. Now that it is finished, you know that you have created something truly special, something that is unique, and a place in which you could see yourself relaxing after a long, hard day. The only problem is: There is nowhere to sit and relax, no vantage point from where you can absorb the peace and beauty that all of your hard work has brought you. Do you know what you need? A garden bench.
Tarragon: A Favourite of French Chefs
Long a favourite of French chefs, the herb Artemisia dracunculus, known as French tarragon or dragon herb is an essential ingredient in Béarnaise sauce, tarragon vinegar, and certain Dijon mustards. A perennial herb, tarragon grows 2 ? 4 feet (60 ? 120 cm) and has dark, shiny, narrow grey-green leaves about 3 inches (8 cm) long with smooth edges. Tarragon produces tiny yellow flowers and has stems that are ridged, round, branching, and light green. Tarragon is rich in Vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, and potassium, and has a mild anise flavour in its leaves.
How To Brighten Up Your Home With These Flower Arrangement Ideas
A beautiful flower arrangement piece can become the focal point of the room you choose to decorate. It's truly fascinating how we can combine different flowers to create a mesmerizing bouquet. With the vast selection of colors, fragrances and shapes, you can create or readily buy a flower arrangement piece that will speak to you and others walking in the room what you want to communicate.
Think of cyclamen and the chances are that Mothers Day immediately comes to mind, which is something of a pity. Now don't misinterpret me, there's nothing wrong with mothers or with having a day for them, but it does seem a little unfortunate when such beautiful, adaptable and useful plants become so commercialised that there's difficulty escaping that association.
With So Many Choices For Patio Furniture, Finding The Perfect Set To Complement Your Yard Is Easy
There is nothing more relaxing than kicking back with a cold drink on a hot summer day. Or unwinding with a big backyard barbeque with all of your neighbors. When the weather heats up and the days get longer, you need the perfect patio furniture in your yard or on your deck in order to relax and enjoy the beautiful summer weather.
How to Grow Basil
Today there are sprays, scented candles, plug-ins, and even discs that promise to freshen your air by putting a variety of aromas into your home. However, when you know how to grow basil, you can have enough variety of fragrance to package your own potpourri! The most commonly grown basil is the annual, ocimum basilicum that carries a minty fragrance that smells like? well, it smells like sweet basil. In addition to having a wonderful fragrance, sweet basil is an essential ingredient in soups, stews, pesto sauce, and just about any tomato dish. Knowing how to grow basil is a must for every herb gardener. You can grow herbs both indoors and outdoors
Gardening - An Expression
Give the same plants to several people, you will see several arrangements. Each one distinct and different, yet, using the same plants.
|home | site map|