Monthly task lists help to grow and maintain your gardens, indoors and out.
Scan these tips from gardening expert, Melinda Myers, and follow those that apply to your particular landscape to help increase your success while making gardening easier, less stressful and fun.
• Recycle your Christmas Tree and greens in your landscape. Use your tree as a windbreak and shelter for the birds. Prune branches off the tree and use the greens for a winter mulch.
• Enjoy your poinsettias and other holiday plants throughout the winter with proper post holiday care. Move them to a sunny window and continue to water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist.
• Take an inventory of seeds you saved from last year. Start a list of new plants and varieties you want to start from seed this year. Next gather all the seed starting equipment like lights and heating mats and supplies like clean containers and seed starting or potting mix you’ll need to start your plants indoors. Shop early for the best selection.
• Start a seed starting and growing calendar. List all the seeds you plan to start indoors or directly in the garden. Check the seed packets for recommended seeding dates. Then list these dates in your calendar so you are sure to get all your seeds planted in a timely manner.
• Minimize salt damage to plants by shoveling first then applying a plant friendly deicing salt to walks and drives.
• Monitor plants for animal damage throughout the winter. Make sure fencing is secure and replenish repellents as needed. Use a variety of tactics for the greatest success.
• Fungus gnats, often mistaken for fruit flies, are occasionally found flitting throughout the house in the winter months. They don't hurt your houseplants, but are a nuisance. These insects feed on organic matter in the soil, such as dead plant roots and peat moss. Keep the soil slightly drier than normal to reduce the populations. If the problem is too great, try treating with an environmentally friendly product with the active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. This particular bacteria only kills the larvae of fungus gnats and mosquitoes. Always read and follow all label directions before applying any product.
• Avoid drafts of hot or cold air on your indoor plants. Cold drafts from patio doors and windows can chill the foliage and lead to root rot. Drafts of hot air from heating ducts create lower humidity. The drier air is hard on the plants, but is a great environment for mites and aphids.
• Plant your amaryllis bulb in a container slightly larger than the bulb. Place the bulb with the pointed half above the soil. Place in a cool sunny location. Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil moist.
• Check on dahlias, cannas and any other non-hardy bulbs overwintering indoors. Discard any soft, discolored o or rotting bulbs. Move sprouted bulbs to a cooler, dark location.
• Check winter mulches on strawberries. Replace any that were dislodged by bad weather. And if the snow fell before the mulch was set in place, don’t worry. Snow is the best insulation.
• Water containers overwintered in an unheated garage or mulched in above ground whenever the soil is thawed and dry. Shoveling a scoop of salt-free snow on the pot makes this job easier. As temperatures warm the snow melts and moistens the soil.
• Examine the stems and branches of trees and shrubs for egg masses of gypsy moth, tent caterpillar, and other harmful pests. Remove or destroy these egg masses to eliminate hundreds of these plant eating pests before they hatch.
Written by gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s monthly gardening tips with you!