gardening tips

 

Winter Tips

Late fall and early winter are the times to finalize preparation of your grounds for winter. Trees, shrubs, perennial plants and grasses will be going into dormancy for the next several months. Annuals will be dying back. It’s the time to clean the garden, plant bulbs (or dig up cold-sensitive bulbs for storage), and dig out those seed catalogs so you can start thinking about what you want to grow next season!

Dead or dying potted plants or annuals can be chopped up (if not diseased) and composted. Sensitive perennials should be mulched to protect them from winter’s cold. The mulch will not only protect plants, it will slowly break down over the winter to provide nutrients and organic matter next spring. Dead branches and foliage should also be removed, but avoid serious pruning of live material at this time of year. Leaves should be raked up and can be added to compost. Leaves have a very high carbon content and should ideally be mixed with a nitrogen contributor, such as manure, to provide microbes with the proper mix of nutrients so that the composting process will progress properly. It is not ideal to use whole leaves alone as a mulch, as they can compact and smother the very plants you are trying to protect.

Late fall is a good time to provide one last application of Bradfield Organics® natural fertilizer to your lawn or pasture (known as “dormant-feeding”). The organic nutrients will stay in the soil and be ready for use as grasses begin to emerge in the spring. In fact, soil testing now will give you the opportunity to spend the winter applying the correct products needed to optimize your soil conditions so that spring growth and health can be maximized. Unlike synthetic fertilizers, Bradfield will not wash away or volatilize but will be incorporated into the soil until needed. It is not recommended to fertilize other garden or landscape plants at this time, as you want them to go dormant in order to best resist the cold.

In more southern areas of the U.S. it is still not too late to do some fall seeding of lawns or pastures, or to lay sod. If you are still mowing, remember that decomposition rates slow with the advent of cold weather, so it is best to remove the lawn clippings the last time you mow so as not to build up smothering thatch that will lie there, compacting, over the winter.

Be sure all plants and trees are well-watered going into winter, especially if you have had a dry fall. Plants that have been subjected to drought stress will have a more difficult time surviving the challenges of winter.

Those of you fortunate enough to live in temperate areas where winter gardening is possible will find good uses for Bradfield Veggie fertilizer. Broccoli, cilantro, cabbage, peas, kale, brusselsprouts and radish all grow well in winter. Many flowers such as pansies, calendula and nemesia will also grow well in warmer winter climates and can add much-needed patches of color to winter’s dark, gray days.

Once the holidays are over, it’s time to start thinking about readying our lawns and gardens for the coming spring. Late winter is a good time to aerate the lawn, providing oxygen to the soil microbes so they will be optimally ready to utilize available nutrients. Late winter is also an excellent time to apply Bradfield Organics® Luscious Lawn & Garden™ 3-1-5; not only does it provide slow-release nitrogen that will be there when the grass wakes up and needs to feed, but the corn gluten meal will act as a pre-emergent to inhibit growth of weeds.And finally, don’t forget to bring in hoses or drain sprinkler systems! You don’t want any ugly surprises after a hard freeze.

Happy holidays from Bradfield Organics®! Have a wonderful winter season and watch for our return next spring with more tips on how to have healthy, vibrant lawns, gardens and pastures!


 

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