Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's Best to Winterize Properly

Just because the weather turns colder doesn't mean your garden quits working.  If you take the right precautions now you will be a step ahead when the world thaws and turns fresh green.  When the temps turn cold, the air is crisp and the earth is golden brown there is still work to be done.  Freezing temperatures and snow won't be the end to all of the hard work you've done through spring, summer and fall.

In the Yard

Just before the first frost is set to hit it's best to prepare your lawn.  Grass tends to hybernate and become dormant during the colder months.  It's a good time to provide the right nurients to keep the roots strong and healthy.  When it comes to fertilizer it's important to read the ingredients just as you would the food your buy for yourself.  You'll want to look for animal manure and hopefully seaweed among other things.  Give the grass a good trim before you fertilize and mulch those fallen leaves into the ground.

Supply a good layer of mulch and/or compst around the roots of bushes and young trees.  Since organic mater will attract rodents and other unsavory critters be sure to wait until just before the first freeze. Trim back any harsh looking or diseased branches and stems.

Do not forget to maintain any sprinklers you have.  Be sure they are tuned off  and pipes are properly insulated.

In the Flower Garden

Prepare perennials by removing dead leaves without cutting back to much.  Add a layer of compost on top of the flower bed to add nutrition back into the soil.  A good layer of snow will actually help protect the roots of your foliage from freezing.  Pay particular attention to the roses and evergreens.  It's the perfect time to give them a headstart.  Protect the roots well with plenty of compost and wrap with a breathable fabric.  This is important to keep the moisture from holding to the soil and roots potentially causing serious damage.  Prune roses but save the major overhaul for spring months.

To help extend plants such as elephent ears (caladiums) and coleus  cut the bottom off of a gallon milk.  Place the jug around the roots of the plant and fill with part soil part compost.  It will help keep the roots warm.  Remove when the weather turns warmer so that the dormant bulbs will grow.

In the Vegetable Garden

There are still plenty of vegetables to harvest during colder tempratures.  One of my favorite is the snow pea.  Not only do they grow nicely, but they pair well with the lettuce, onions, garlic and spinich that survive and prosper well during a freeze.  Winter crops will flouris and fair very well.  Not only do these plants endure cold temperatures, but the threat of insects and weeds diminishes as the temperature drops.  You'll still need to keep you eyes open for any possible threats.

If a winter garden is not possible then you'll want to get a jump on spring.  It's the best time to renourish you soil with plenty of compost.  Cultivate the compost with the soil and leave a nice layer on top.  Don't ignore the garden all winter.  Check on it frequently to obstain unforseen problems.
You soil will be well prepared for another year of fresh crops.

Whatever your plans for spring are you'll want to be sure and check extended weather forcasts for your area.  As always take you regions climate conditions into consideration before preparing your lawn and garden.

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