IN THE GARDEN: December duties and indoor gardening
Although the first day of winter — the Winter Solstice — isn’t until Dec. 21, we have certainly had some nights cold enough to determine which of our outside plants are frost tolerant and which are frost susceptible.
Have you made your last cut on the fields or lawns for a long moment? If so, make sure to winterize your equipment before you put it up for winter hibernation.
- Clean your tools and oil them.
- Drain gasoline engines and oil/grease joints. Don’t let that gasoline sit in your equipment (mowers, edgers, etc.) over winter. Be sure to run the engines until all of the gasoline has been depleted.
- During December, we are going to need to be vigilant as to the weather and our opportunities to prepare our gardens for spring planting. Gentle reminder: We have time. Do a little each day or every other day.
- Add organic material to flower and gardening beds and have them ready to plant when needed.
- So, those bulbs you put in your refrigerator in September — it’s now been six weeks. Time to plant them. Both tulip and hyacinth bulbs will provide wonderful color in your flower beds.
- WARNING! Don’t prune your fruit trees yet. Pruning promotes growth and budding. This is like what Wade Hibler was talking on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune about roses. You don’t want to deadhead roses at this time either. Pruning flowering plants during this season confuses the plants. Deadheading or pruning sends signals to the plant or tree that it is spring. We don’t want to fool our fruit trees or roses as to what season it is.
- This is still a good time to set out those cool season plants such as pansies, violas, stock, and snapdragons.
If you are thinning your cedar trees, or simply getting rid of the males because they make you sneeze, remember to leave several mature trees. Our golden-cheeked warblers (Dendroica chrysoparia) need both Ashe juniper and oak for their habitat. To make their nest, they use long strips of cedar bark for their foundation and spider webbing for mortar. Remember, the cedars with the blue berries are the good guys. Well, good gals.
Water and feed for all our fine-feathered friends is important this time of year.
As you're planning your outside garden for spring, you could be planting an inside garden. Having accessible fresh herbs in your kitchen windowsill while you cook is a wonderful blessing. You can even create indoor gardens with upside-down hanging plants. We really prefer this method because you get all of the good stuff concentrated in the leaves. If you would like ideas about indoor gardening, here are some of the keywords/phrases that we found helpful when googling: indoor gardening, kitchen sill herbs, countertop gardening, indoor herb gardening tips. These will get you started.
Till next time. Keep your souls and soles in your garden! Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1.
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