The new year is here, and its time to prep the garden for spring!
Garden beds – Now is the time to prep your garden beds for spring planting. Till under any old growth and ensure your beds have proper nutrients by adding the necessary compost or soil additives. We strongly recommend mushroom compost and black humus, especially for vegetable gardens. For your shrubs, you can add extra landscaping mix, or compost.
Transplanting – While the chilly weather may make this task a bit daunting, now is the perfect time to transplant while a specimen is dormant. Try to preserve the root system, and ensure that you prune the plant itself around 20% to compensate for the loss of the roots as it is being transplanted. After planting, add a few inches of mulch, and I always recommend to add root stimulator to prevent shock and to boost the root system to help anchor the plant. Remember, 4 tablespoons per gallon, for every 3′ of plant height!
Pruning – Now through February is the prime time to prune both fruit trees and shade trees. This will help with overall tree shape, and will allow you to remove any dead wood or to prevent crowding among branches — remember that trees need airflow! Valentine’s Day is also the perfect date to prune your roses.
Bulbs – Now is the time to plant tulips and any other pre-chilled bulbs that you have left in your gardening inventory. Don’t forget to add a pinch of bone meal under each bulb for overall production.
Bedding Plants – Select cold hardy annuals for these dropping temperatures. Flowering annuals such as dianthus, pansies, violas (johnny jump up’s), snapdragons, kale, and swiss chard will add color throughout the winter and into spring. If temperatures allow, they may even go into summer! If you have deer, remember that you are safe with snapdragons and dianthus.
Lawn – Ensure that you are raking leaves or mulching them throughout the yard. An accumulation of a leaf layer that is too thick will block sunlight to the grass below, which will aid in fungus and disease, something that no one wants to fight in the spring!
Winter Care – When temperatures hit the mid 30’s, its time to cover them. We recommend using freeze cloth “N-sulate” to provide protection. This cloth is lightweight, durable, and is permeable to allow for sunlight and moisture to penetrate it to keep the plants healthy and safe from freezes. We sell it in 10 x 12′ sizes, or can custom cut from a 12′ wide roll as needed. We do not recommend plastic covering, or if you use sheets, do not leave them on too long because they do not allow the plant to truly “breath” like freeze cloth does. For extra protection, wrap burlap or a similar material around palm trunks, tropical trees, or even wrap them in Christmas tree lights to add extra warmth.