Looking out onto the winter landscapes, it is the evergreen shrubs and trees that prominently stand out. They add color and help the garden look less barren. This is a good time of year to help find places for additional evergreens for screening unsightly views or to help accent the flowering plants in the garden next spring. Consider the shape and color of any new evergreens. The right mix of both deciduous and evergreen plants will create a rhythm and balance within the garden. Evergreens also offer shelter and food for birds.
The variety of vegetable seeds looks to be even better this year. Seed catalogues have been showing up in the mail box tempting us to try new varieties as well as the older heirloom favorites. It is definitely worth taking a look. Your dilemma may be trying to limit your choices. The Organic Gardening web site offers a list of several of the seed companies – http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/seed-catalog-time
This is a good time of year to clean up the garden after the plants have become dormant for the winter. Plan to cut back the perennials to 3 to 6 inches above the ground. It is beneficial to do because it helps to keep harmful insects and diseases from finding a place to rest in the winter. However, not all plants need to be cut back, such as ornamental grasses, which offer seasonal interest. Coneflowers and Black-eyed Susan’s offer seed for the backyard wildlife.
An herb plant that is excellent to keep indoors for the winter is Rosemary. Besides being used in recipes, it has a pleasant fragrance. Brushing the leaves helps remind us that spring cannot be that far away. Rosemary needs a little extra care when being grown indoors. It also needs full sun, well-drained soil and occasional misting. If the tips of the plant start to turn brown, it means that Rosemary is getting too much water. Good air circulation will help prevent powdery mildew.
It is important to maintain our levels of Vitamin D and it is important to continue to get outside, even during the winter months. Taking a walk, doing some winter gardening, riding a bike or other excuses to get outside can be so very beneficial. Dr. Andrew Weil offers suggestions in his ‘Tip of the Day’ - http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/TIP03934/Vitamin-D-in-Winter-Time.html
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has been a way for people to identify where to purchase locally grown produce directly from the farmer. You can buy a ‘share’ in the produce grown on the farm, which can be either delivered to your door or you can pick it up on a weekly basis. CSA has been growing in popularity and it is a great way to know how the food you are eating has been grown. To find a farmer in your area that participates in the program go to http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
A relatively new magazine offering new ideas for the garden is a magazine called Urban Farm. It has been slowly catching on and will now be offered on a bi-monthly basis for 2011. There are articles on community gardens, raising chickens, sustainable gardening practices and other timely topics. Access to the magazines web site is at http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/?navm=1
The concept of improving a derelict or out of the way piece of ground gained popularity when Guerrilla Gardening took hold in London, England in 2004. Since, then people have been interested in helping to beautify their communities. There are literally hundreds of small patches of earth that would benefit from planting flowers to brighten someone’s day. A long lasting resolution for the new year might be to adopt an unsightly space and help improve it with colorful plants. Ideas can be gleaned at the Guerilla Gardening web site – http://www.guerrillagardening.org/
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant” – Anne BradstreetRead more