• Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Upcoming Garden Events

    Sept. 30: The Nashville Herb Society presents Through the Garden Gate: A Glimpse of Edwardian England, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanic Hall. Celebrate the gardens, foods and flowers that delighted Downton Abby family and friends at the turn of the 20th century. The event begins with a hearty Edwardian breakfast, followed by three speakers: Marta McDowell on Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life; Geraldine A. Laufer on Tussie Mussie – Victorian art of expressing yourself in the language of flowers; and Terry White, The English Garden event florist . Registration includes breakfast, box lunch in the garden with music, English tea and cookies. To learn more or to register, visit www.herbsocietynashvlle.org.

    Tips & tasks – September

    Cut the dead tops of coneflowers, but leave enough for goldfinches to enjoy the seeds.

    Plant cool-weather vegetables for a fall crop: spinach, mustard and turnip greens, radishes, leaf lettuce.

    Start a new lawn of cool-season grass, such as fescue, or refurbish or repair establish lawns.

    Don’t let the soil of newly planted grass dry out. New grass needs about an inch of water per week.

    It’s still warm, so continue to water and weed garden beds as needed.

    Remove dead foliage, spent flowers and other garden debris; replenish mulch as needed.

    Continue to harvest produce, which may be getting a boost now from slightly cooler weather. Keep watering sage, rosemary and other perennial herbs so they’ll be in good shape to get through winter.

    Prepare to bring houseplants back indoors: remove dead leaves, scrub soil from the sides of the pots, treat for insects. Bring tropical plants in before nighttime temperatures dip to 55 degrees.

  • Categories

  • Archives

Winter garden tips & tasks

Gardening doesn’t stop just because winter has set in. We gardeners find plenty of ways to keep busy until spring calls us outdoors again.

January

African violet

Can’t get outdoors to garden? Tend to your houseplants.

Satisfy your urge to garden by tending to your houseplants. Beyond regular watering and feeding, clean the leaves, trim dead foliage and flowers, and re-pot plants as necessary.

Watch for pests that may attack houseplants or outdoor plants that spend the winter indoors. Take quick action if you begin to see aphids, mealybugs, scale or spider mites.  A shower of lukewarm water may take care of light infestations of many insects.

Herbs and summer annuals that you may be growing indoors on a sunny windowsill should be pinched back periodically to keep them from becoming too tall and leggy. If plants are not getting enough sunlight, you may need to move them to a brighter location, or grow them under lights. Provide a dose of houseplant fertilizer every few weeks throughout the winter.

Save that poinsettia from Christmas to grow in your garden next spring. Place the pot in bright, indirect light and continue to water enough to keep the soil moist, but not Poinsettiasoggy. After the danger of frost passes, place the pot outdoors and cut back the stems. It should continue to grow into a bushy, green plant that will die back at the first hint of frost next fall.

Watch the garden beds for signs of “heaving” – uprooting of plants by thawing and freezing soil. Tuck the plants’ roots back into the soil and cover with a layer of mulch.

The blooms of hellebores are beginning to brighten the landscape in some areas. Cut back last year’s dried foliage to allow new buds and foliage to thrive. If you’re planting hellebores for the first time, prepare a bed of well-drained soil. Hellebores will tolerate shade, but bloom better if they receive adequate sunlight, and should thrive for years with little maintenance.

If the soil isn’t frozen, it’s a good time to plant a tree. Dig a hole that is wider than the rootball, but no deeper. Place the rootball in the hole, fill the hole about halfway with soil, make final adjustments, then fill the rest of the hole and add water. Plant the tree only as deep as it grew originally. Add mulch, but do not mound mulch or soil up around the trunk.

Winter is a good time to prune deciduous trees, while they are dormant. Do not prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees now; to do so would cut off the buds that would bloom this spring.

Bring spring in early by forcing paperwhite narcissus bulbs in pots indoors. Grow them in soil or in water. They’ll bloom quickly and fill your home with a lovely (some say overwhelming) sweet fragrance.

Peruse mail-order catalogs or their online equivalent for new ideas and old favorites to add to your garden this spring.

February

Feeling house-bound? Cure cabin fever by getting out on a sunny day to pick up dry leaves, twigs and other garden debris that may have accumulated on lawns and in garden beds.

Welcome the birds by keeping feeders filled. Safflower seed attracts cardinals, tufted titmice, chickadees and more. A suet feeder draws woodpeckers, flickers and nuthatches. Take part in the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 12 – 15. Learn more at http://gbbc.birdcount.org/

chickweed

Some weeds may continue to grow.

In some areas, annual weeds that thrive in winter grow easily in cultivated perennial and vegetable beds. Dig them out or pull them up as soon as they begin to sprout to keep them from spreading.

Liriope (aka monkey grass or lilyturf) in the landscape benefits from a little winter maintenance: trim last year’s foliage before the new growth begins to emerge.

Houseplants that like humidity may suffer in the heat inside your home. Add humidity around the plants by lining a waterproof tray with stones, filling the tray with water and placing the plants on top of the stones.

Summer annuals can grow indoors over the winter, but they tend to get leggy if they’re not getting enough light. Move them to a sunnier spot, if possible, or grow them under lights.

It’s a good time to have your soil tested to find out what amendments might be needed. Contact your county’s extension office to learn how to have a soil test done

Flowering quince

Cut branches of spring-blooming shrubs, such as flowering quince, to bloom indoors.

Bring the promise of spring indoors by cutting branches of spring-flowering shrubs (forsythia, flowering quince and so forth) to force into bloom. Scrape the ends of 12- to 18-inch branches and place them in a container of warm water. Place the container in a dark, cool spot at first, then move it to a sunnier place when the buds begin to open.

The 2016 gardening season may begin late in February in some climates! In the kitchen garden, plant cool-season vegetables such as snap peas, radishes, lettuce, spinach, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, beets, kale, mustard, bunching onions, turnip roots and greens. In colder climates, start those seeds indoors so you have transplants ready to set out in the garden when the time comes.

Begin making plans for spring and summer garden beds. If you grow a kitchen garden, begin to start seeds indoors so they will be ready at the appropriate outdoor planting time.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: