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A GREENER VIEW- Get Your Garden Ready for Spring,Warmer Weather PDF Print E-mail
Written by JEFFRUGG, Creators Syndicate   
Thursday, 30 December 2010 06:24

Winter finally started last week and New Year's isn't here yet, but formany gardeners, cabin fever is already starting. Florida and the Gulf Coast states are not warm and the Northern and Western states are getting snowed in, but just because the landscapes are dormant, it doesn'tmean gardeners have to be dormant, too.

You should be getting seed catalogs in the mail. If you haven't received enough gardening catalogs, or need more with a specific type of plant youwant to grow, go to www.mailordergardening.com for a list of companies that offer catalogs of plants and gardening tools. Youwill receive a direct link to the company's e-mail or Web page, so you can order the catalog.

Reading seed catalogs in the winter will encourage you with a hint of the warmth and beauty to come. Ordering early will help to get seeds that are in limited supply, and they can be planted indoors at the proper time.

Working on a landscape or garden plan is easier now — when there are fewer things that have to be done outside.Landscape architects and contractors are also usually less busy now and may offer good discounts to get more work.

Use a video or other camera each month of the year to see the changes in your yard; it willmake it easier to view needed changes. If you can't wait for spring, try a little indoor gardening now. Plant herb or salad green seeds in pots or flats. Harvest them as they grow or move them up to larger pots. Set them near the sunniest window or under fluorescent lights. You can keep harvesting and replanting, or if you have room and a large pot, you can grow an edible centerpiece.

Check indoor plants for insects and mites. Most can be washed off in the shower or sink. Many plants need awinter grooming, so clean up the dead leaves and rotate them so that more leaves will get some sun. Don't store extra firewood indoors. Many insects hide in the bark, and as they will warm up, these insects maymove into your plants.

Another good winter project is tomake sure your summer power tools have been cleaned up and tuned. Take them to the repair shop now, so they have plenty of time to work on them before you need them.

Don't forget to feed the wildlife — the extra food they get may be the difference between life and death. Suet and black oil sunflower seeds give themost calories and give birds enough energy to stay warm.Water and shelter are also necessary, so don't forget themwhen you design your landscape.

A birdbath heater is designed to keep the water liquid and available for drinking during cold weather; it won't turn the birdbath into a spa. This is a good time to builda birdhouse, so itwill be ready to hang in the spring.

Check your landscape for signs of rabbit and other rodent damage to landscape plants. They especially like chewing on the trunks and stems of berry- and fruit-producing trees and shrubs.

Also, look at guywires and recently installed plants for the possibility that frost actionhas lifted them out of the ground. Reinstalling stakes may be difficult in frozen ground, but the plants probably won't fall over until the ground thaws anyway. If the plants have been lifted up and their root systems exposed to the cold air, just add several inches of mulch and replant in the spring.

If you live inanarea that hasnot had much snow or rain this winter, check your landscape for dry soil and plants that need to be watered. This is very important for new landscapes and evergreens.

Give them water on the soonest day that is above freezing, and hopefully they will take in enough water to survive.

As you can see, there are lots of things you can do in your landscape before spring arrives, so don't wait too long before you get started.

E-mail questions to Jeff Rugg at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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