Healing our winter garden woes
Does your garden look like a disaster zone? Fear not! Metro Natural Gardening Specialist Carl Grimm has a treasure trove of tips to share with you to help heal your garden’s winter woes.
Prune broken and damaged plant parts
If you have any broken branches dangling from your trees or shrubs, prune them off with a clean cut to prevent further problems. Don’t paint or seal cuts—that can cause plant diseases. If you have frost-damaged leaves that you don’t like looking at, feel free to pick them off. But for more substantial pruning it’s best to wait until the weather warms and dries up a little. February or even early March is better for most major pruning jobs. The great thing about proper pruning and maintenance is that it prevents pathogenic fungus without toxic fungicide so your garden is beautiful, safe and healthy.
Make compost with your prunings
Chop up twigs and branches and throw them on your compost. Mix with your fruit and vegetable trimmings and stir them up every so often and you could have a batch of compost ready in time for late spring plantings. Compost is the best and safest alternative to chemical fertilizers that tend to wash into storm drains, rivers and streams and cause pollution problems.
Plan for spring plantings
Now is definitely the time to shop catalogs and websites for your spring planting ideas. Consider incorporating native plants into your planting plan. Since they have adapted to the local climate over millions of years, they are more likely to thrive, no matter what the weather. They also provide the best habitat for our local birds and butterflies. You may also consider planting more edibles this year. They are fun to grow and can’t be beat for making any meal more delicious.
Even with the chill in the air, don’t despair: flowers are forming now for blooms soon
You can snip sprigs of spring flowering shrubs and trees to force them to flower indoors in vases. Forsythia, cherry and witch hazel are great choices. If you haven’t planted your bulbs –get to it! And don’t forget to mix compost and alfalfa meal into the hole, and plant them deep enough (at least four times the width of the bulb). Hellebores, crocus, witch hazel and pieris are soon to burst their blossoms open and brighten these brisk days of winter.
You CAN grow a beautiful, low maintenance garden without toxic pesticides!
For winter natural gardening tips from Metro click here.