Monday, October 3, 2011

Top 10 Things to Do For The Garden for Winter

From Melinda's Top 10 in Birds and Blooms Magazine.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Purple Bee Balm
• Shred fall leaves and dig them into vacant gardens to help improve the soil for next season.

• Plant pansies, mums, asters and ornamental cabbage for added fall color.

• Bulbs can be planted when night time air temperatures stay between 40-50 degree.

• Safely store fertilizer and garden chemicals in a secure location away from pets and children. (Editor's Note: Better yet, switch to natural products that aren't toxic to you and wildlife. One of our favorite products is Sunshine Concentrate for the garden.)

• Cover vegetables and frost-sensitive flowers with old sheets or floating row covers to extend the growing season. The first few frosts of the season are often followed by several weeks of warm temperatures.

• Let healthy, pest-free perennials stand for winter. They add beauty to the winter landscape, provide food for birds and are winter homes for many good bugs.

• Pick tomatoes that are starting to show color before the first killing frost and ripen them indoors.

• Loosely tie upright arborvitae and juniper with cotton strips or twine. Another option is to wrap the plants in bird netting to prevent snow loads from bending and possibly breaking stems.

• Install wildlife protection before critters start feeding. It is easier to prevent damage than to break a bad habit.

• Store excess seeds in their original packets or clearly marked envelopes. Then place them in airtight jar or old 35mm film canister in the refrigerator for the winter.

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