Winter Gardening

Stay in the gardening spirit during the winter months... and start planning!

As I sit near the window in my kitchen, with my hands wrapped around a hot cup of coffee, watching the snow come down and creating an insulating white blanket over the ground outside, I wonder how many of you are thinking of gardening.

With the brutally cold temperatures outside, now is a good time to inspect your gardening tools. Either sharpen them yourself or take them to a garden center or hardware store for sharpening.

Perusing seed catalogs can send you dreaming of the beautiful flowers or the ripe fruits and vegetables yet to come. Use these catalogs to help you plan this season’s garden.

Visiting flower shows, including the Philadelphia Flower Show surely will give you the fever.

Bird feeders need to be kept filled as their food supply is covered now. Birds and all wildlife have a difficult time finding a water supply that is not frozen over so it is important to keep that heated bird bath filled. The birds will thank you with their presence, song and by greatly reducing the insect population.

Pruning shrubs and trees can begin (once the temperature moderates a bit). Begin by removing any dead, diseased or damaged stems. Dead stems attract insects and allow disease to develop. Also remove cross branches so they don’t rub together. Some shrubs require pruning in winter and others need to be done in spring after blooming since some flowers form on “new” wood and some form on “old” wood. Information on pruning specific shrubs and trees can be obtained online or through your local extension office.

Don’t forget your houseplants. Inspect all of them for insects and diseases that may have hitch-hiked into the house with the plants. Remove any dead or diseased leaves and then rinse all of the dust off so they can “breathe” again. I find that placing them in the bathroom shower works beautifully.

Happy Winter – Happy gardening…

Emily Bradley, MG