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Monthly gardening reminders

by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:19 PM
Replies (11-20):
by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Gardening in the month of November

October 12, 1999
It's cold, it's wet and it's nasty out, and the last thing on your mind is playing in the mud in your garden.......
It's really hard to get motivated to do much of anything outdoors, but there are a few tasks and chores which you should do on those days when the weather is favorable!

Snuggle bear

Here are a few gardening tasks and projects that you can do this month to help keep your garden looking it's best for the rest of this season, and prepare for the long cold winter and upcoming spring.

Perennials, annuals, and bulbs Make sure that the canes of your climbing roses and other vining plants are securely fastened to their supports. Winter winds can whip and severely damage unprotected plants. Don't tie them so tightly that the string or twist-tie cuts into the stem.
I recommend using a length of an old nylon stocking because it will stretch as the plant grows, rather than cutting into the stem, as string will do.

Mound five to six inches of soil around the bases of your hardy fuchsias and roses. Use soil from another part of the garden, rather than risking damage to the roots by digging around the base of the plant.

Cut Chrysanthemum stems to 2-3 inches from the soil once they have begun to die back.

You can continue to transplant your perennials throughout the fall and winter, as long as they remain dormant.

Tulip bulbs may still be planted in the early part of the month.

Tender bulbs should be dug up and stored in a cool, dark area after first frost.

Be sure that your tender plants are protected from frost. Mulching with bark, sawdust or straw will help create a blanket of protection over the root system. Should the weather get suddenly cold, place burlap, cloth or dark plastic over your tender plants to give them some added protection from the cold. Be sure to remove this covering when the weather has stabilized!.

Shrubs and trees One of the most asked questions at this time of year is "when can I transplant my shrubs and trees?" This month and throughout the next several months will be good times to transplant trees and shrubs. At this time of the year, most ornamentals have entered into dormancy, and can be safely dug and replanted.
The key to transplanting is to dig a large root ball (get as much of the root system as is possible). Equally important, is getting the plant back into the prepared soil as quickly as possible, to keep the roots from drying out.
(Only a transplanting fertilizer should be used at this time of the year.) Large trees or shrubs should be staked to protect them from wind whipping during winter storms. Keep them staked until the roots have a chance to develop and anchor them.

As soon as the leaves fall from fruit trees, shade or flowering trees, raspberries and other deciduous plants, they can be sprayed for the first time with a dormant spray. This spraying helps control over-wintering insects and diseases. Apply according to label instructions.

Prune your evergreens to shape.

Fruits and veggies Cut the tops off your asparagus plants, and add a winter dressing of aged manure to the bed.

Cover strawberries two inches deep with hay or straw.

Secure your raspberry canes to stakes to protect them from wind whipping.

Lawn If you haven't already applied a fall or winter type of lawn fertilizer (20-9-9), now is the time to do it. This encourages good root development and helps improve the color of the lawn. Lime can also be applied, if needed.

Give your lawn a good raking to lift away accumulations of debris.

Keep leaves raked from the lawn. They should be composted. Alternatively, you can just mow over them, turning them to a mulch which adds important nutrients back to the lawn.

House Plants Winter heating dries the air out in your home considerably. Help your house plants survive by misting them or placing the pots on a pebble filled tray of water to ensure adequate humidity and moisture.

Pot up some spring flowering bulbs for indoor color during the winter. Store the pots in a cool, dark place, until new growth emerges from the soil, and then move them to a bright window.

Continue to watch for insect or disease damage and take the necessary steps to control the problem.

Odds and ends Please feed the birds and other small creatures which may not be able to find food due to snow on the ground or other causes.
Their natural food sources have pretty much dried up by this time of the year. For only a few dollars you can feed an enormous number of birds.
You don't have to be a bird watcher to enjoy the feeling that you get when you've helped out one of God's creatures.

Drain your hoses and put them away so they don't freeze and burst.

Continue to watch for insect, slug and snail, or disease damage throughout the garden, and take the necessary steps to control the problem.

Use small stakes or markers where you've planted bulbs or late starting spring plants in the perennial garden, to avoid disturbing them when you begin spring soil preparation. If you feel that stakes don't fit your landscape style.... you might consider marking stones with fingernail polish or paint, and set them on the planting spot (painted side down)

When you have finished your last mowing of the year, make sure that it is properly stored. Run it until it is out of fuel.... old gas can turn to varnish, and severely damage the engine.

Clean and oil your garden tools for winter storage. Place some sand and some oil in a large bucket, then slide your garden tools in and out of the sand.
This will do an excellent job of cleaning them, as well as applying a light coat of oil to prevent rusting.This is also a good month to restock any tools that have seen better days, while the prices are lower.

A tip from The 1899 Old Farmer's Almanac "Useful Hints": "Keep all fruit stones (pits), cooked or uncooked. Dry them slowly in the oven, put in a large jar, and in winter throw a handful on the fire of an evening. They will crackle for a moment, send up a bright flame, and fill the room with a delicious aroma."

by Garden Owner on Jan. 25, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Gardening in the month of December

November 16, 1999
The month of December has most people scurrying about with a long list of 'gotta-dos'. Probably the last thing on anyone's mind is working in the garden. Fortunately, the list of gardening 'to-dos' for this month is more like a list of 'don't-dos'.

Gardening in December
If you have been keeping up with your gardening tasks for the last few months, you should be able to take it pretty easy this month; (at least in the garden.)
There are a few things to keep an eye on, and a few optional things you can do in the garden. Your biggest concern will probably be tending to your house plants.

This year, consider purchasing a living Christmas tree for your home.
They really aren't that much more expensive than a cut tree. This is an excellent way to improve your landscape, and at the same time, save a tree. Before bringing a living tree into the house, water it thoroughly.
Living Christmas trees should not be kept in the house for any longer than 10 days.

Perennials, annuals, and bulbs If you potted up some bulbs, such as hyacinths, daffodils or tulips, last September for winter forcing, keep an eye on them. Make sure they remain moist, and in the dark until they have established their root systems.
It is possible that they have already filled their containers with roots and that the new top growth has begun. If this is so, bring them into the house and set them in a cool room, in indirect light.
After a week or so, move them into bright light, and watch them go to town!

Check on any corms and tubers which you dug up, and stored this fall. Remove and discard any which show signs of disease or rot.

Shrubs and trees Winter rains tend to make you forget about watering your garden. However, plants and shrubs which are growing beneath large evergreens or under the eaves of the house, may be bone dry by this time.
Lack of water in the cold winter months can be fatal to many of these plants. A quick check will let you know if you need to do a little winter watering.

If there is a sudden drop in the temperature, provide extra protection for your more tender flowering plants like Rhododendrons, Camellias, Azaleas and Daphne.
You can provide temporary, emergency protection by driving in three of four stakes around the plant, and then simply covering the plant with some type of cloth, like burlap, a sheet or an old blanket.
Don't let this material come into direct contact with the leaves of the plant. Remove the cover completely, as soon as the weather moderates.

December is a good month to take cuttings of rhododendrons, azaleas, and other evergreen shrubs. The cutting should be taken from new tip growth, and kept in bright light, at about 70 degrees f.

Lawn Stay off frozen grass!!! House Plants Glossy leaved house plants such as Philodendrons, Rubber plants, and Palms should be sponged off periodically, to allow them to breathe.

Plants which have fuzzy, textured, or other non-glossy type leaves should be set in the sink and sprayed gently with room temperature water, until the dust is cleaned away. Be sure that the foliage is allowed to dry completely.

Provide your house plants with extra humidity by grouping plants together, or by setting the pots on leakproof trays filled with moistened pebbles.

If you successfully kept last years plants alive, and have been keeping it in 14 hours of darkness since September, your Poinsettias and and Christmas cactus should be ready bring back into the living room by December first.

With the proper care, these Christmas plants will remain beautiful for many weeks.

  • They prefer to be kept on the cool side, 65-70 degrees during the day and 55-60 at night.
  • Keep them in bright, natural light whenever possible.
  • Keep them away from heat sources.
  • Keep them out of drafts.
  • Be sure to water them when they become dry.
  • Never allow them to stand in water for more than an hour.

Odds and ends Take care of our feathered friends! Keep your bird feeder filled, especially when there is snow on the ground.

Don't let your hose freeze and burst. Stretch it out with both ends open, to allow the water to drain completely. Coil it up and put it away.

Make sure your outdoor faucets are covered to protect them from freezing.

by on Feb. 15, 2010 at 8:56 AM

Thanks for the reminders... A good point also about the gardening tools, once I took my lawn mower in to get it fixed in the middle of winter.  The guy was so slow that not only did it take a very short time for the repair, but it was actually cheaper than usual.

by Garden Owner on Jan. 16, 2011 at 10:11 AM


by Garden Owner on Mar. 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM


by Garden Owner on Jan. 27, 2012 at 11:49 AM


by Garden Owner on Jul. 12, 2013 at 9:58 AM


by Garden Owner on Jan. 1, 2017 at 1:26 PM


by Garden Owner on Jan. 22, 2017 at 10:36 AM


by Garden Owner on Jan. 29, 2017 at 7:56 AM


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