IN THE GARDEN: December Duties and Kitchen 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 or frost-susceptible as we discussed in a previous column.
Have you made your last cut on the fields or lawns for a long while? If so, make sure to winterize your equipment before you put it up for winter hibernation.
1. Clean your tools and oil them.
2. Drain all gasoline engines and oil/grease joints. Don’t let that gasoline sit in your equipment (such as mowers, edgers, etc.) over the winter. Be sure to run the engines until all the gasoline has been depleted.
3. During this month, 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.
4. Add organic material to all your flower and gardening beds and have them ready to plant when needed.
5. 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 flowerbeds.
6. WARNING! Don’t start to prune your fruit trees yet. Pruning promotes growth and budding. This is like what Wade Hibler was talking about regarding roses on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune. You don’t want to dead head roses at this time, either. Pruning flowering plants during this season confuses the plants. Dead heading 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.
7. This is still a good time to set out those cool-season plants such as pansies, violas, stock, snapdragons, and many more.
If you are thinning your cedar trees or simply getting rid of the males because they make you sneeze, remember to leave several mature cedar trees. Our golden-cheeked warblers (Dendroica chrysoparia) need both Ashe juniper and oak for their habitat. To make their nests, they use long strips of cedar bark for the 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 you garden for outside in the spring, you can be planting an inside garden as well. Having fresh herbs in your kitchen windowsill accessible while you cook is a wonderful blessing.
You can even create indoor gardens where the plants are hanging upside down. We like this method because then you get all the good stuff concentrated in the leaves.
If you would like many ideas about indoor gardening, here are some of the key words/phrases that we found helpful when searching online: indoor gardening, kitchen sill herbs, countertop gardening, indoor herb gardening tips. These will get you started.
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
Read more In the Garden columns and find local businesses who can offer expert help in the Lawn and Garden Guide.
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