Add December gardening chores to your holiday list, says Growing Wisdom’s Dave Epstein
This time of the year can be sad for many of us in the northern latitudes as winter slowly arrives. I find myself looking at the yard for remaining signs of life and those hints of spring that will emerge in 12 long weeks. This afternoon I was outside looking at my witch hazel and noticed it was full of buds. It should open in February and looks to be a great show.
What I am doing now is moving hoses into the garage or basement, cleaning shovels and other tools and looking around for what has to be done before the hard part of winter sets in and seeing what can wait till spring.
Click here to go to Growing Wisdom and watch some gardening videos.
I am now into year two of winter gardening. I have just covered my tunnels with row covers to protect against frost and one of them now has green house plastic to protect it even further. I am looking forward to a mix of Asian greens, kale and collards for the next few weeks. We used many of these for part of our meal at Thanksgiving. I am also still planting some lettuce seeds and arugula under these tunnels for a late winter harvest. The plants will germinate in the next few weeks and really take off in late January and early February.
Growing vegetables without heat all winter is a great way to keep your sanity through the cold months. There are still a lot of unknowns with regard to this type of gardening, so experiment. Check out some of the books by Elliot Coleman. He is one of the pioneers in this field.
Click here for a video on winter gardening.
TIP OF THE SEASON
Make sure to use an antidesiccant on tender evergreens. During the coldest months, plants that retain their leaves still lose moisture. If they lose too much water over the winter, there can be significant dieback in the spring. If you decide to spray, do it on a day when temperatures are above freezing and winds are light. I typically spray early in the morning to ensure there’s enough time for the spray to dry.
Click here to see how I prepare broadleaf evergreens for winter.