Winter is coming as they say, but that doesn’t mean a gardener can rest on his or her laurels. There’s much to do to prepare for the cold weather and in the area around Edgewater and Hoboken, New Jersey, the weather’s going to get rather cold. Here are a few things that need to be done during or just before winter:
Tend to the Tools
The tools that have been used during the growing season now need to be put away. Ideally, they have their own tool shed where they can be stored upright on the walls. Some people take the time to sharpen the tools before putting them away for the winter.
Other people sharpen and balance the blade of their lawn mower now, though others wait until just before it’s time to mow the lawn again.
Some shrubs are best pruned around this time. They include flowering abelia, hibiscus and hydrangeas. Diseased, dead or damaged growth should be cut back to the healthy tissue with sharp pruning shears or saws. Suckers that emerge from the roots of some plants like apple trees also should be cut off at the ground.
Some people recommend that the suckers be torn off, but some suckers are just too tough. Water sprouts, which are suckers that grow straight up from a branch, should also be snapped off.
Believe it or not, early winter might be the ideal time to plant some trees and shrubs as long as the ground isn’t frozen or soggy. Hardwood cuttings can also be taken from deciduous shrubs to be transplanted later on.
Some herbs and garden vegetables can also be started indoors in a seed-growing medium. Growing charts can help a gardener know when a plant’s supposed to germinate, be planted outside and when it’s going to flower and fruit.
They can be put in a sunny window or under a grow light. As the weather warms, they can be put outside for short periods of time to harden off. By the last frost, a lot of them will be ready to plant outdoors. Just make sure that the herbs or vegetables are good for starting indoors. Chervil and dill, for example, are best planted outside when the ground and weather are warm enough.
Some of the younger, tenderer shrubs may need to be protected from winter winds. The gardener can plant four poles around the shrub and wrap burlap around it. Some plants might need to be covered with burlap that’s secured with twine.
Some homeowners overseed their lawns during the winter to make sure the grass is green all year. Before overseeding, the area of the lawn should be mown and aerated so the seed makes good contact with soil. After it’s sown, the seed will need to be watered frequently until it’s established.
These are a few of the activities that will help a garden or lawn get through the winter and be in top shape for the spring.