Cold Weather Gardening Hints

It’s not too late to plant spring flowering bulbs–if you can find them at nurseries. However, most nurseries are already receiving their summer-flowering bulbs, so be sure to shop early for best selection.

It’s very important to remember NOT to till wet soil. Soil texture should be crumbly and not sticky before you dig. Tilling wet soil destroys its structure.

Many bare root plants are available now in nurseries. Have your planting locations selected and holes dug before purchasing plants so that you can plant immediately. If this isn’t possible, heel-in the bare root plants to protect fragile roots from drying out until you can plant.

Now is the time to prune dormant, deciduous plants such as flowering shrubs, vines and shade trees. DO NOT prune spring flowering plants such as lilac or viburnum (Japanese snowball bush), because you will be cutting off the spring-flowering wood (prune these after they finish their spring flowering). Roses in warmer areas can be pruned now, followed by dormant oil spraying. If you’re in a colder area you should wait until at least March to prune, again followed by dormant oil spray. Dormant sprays for roses help combat black spot and smother overwintered insect pests.

If rain is still not forthcoming, you’ll need to water your plants. Newly planted selections and native plants need moisture now.

Fertilize amaryllis, azaleas, and cymbidium orchids after blooming. Weather permitting, these can be moved to a protected area outside. Keep moisture constant so they don’t dry out.

Consider cold frames to get an early start with vegetables and flower seeds.

Spread cow, chicken or horse manure in your garden so that rain (or watering!) will wash nutrients into the soil.