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Tuck your garden in for the winter
Friday, Oct. 17, 2008 | 02:56 PM AT
It's no fun living outdoors through a Montreal winter. (There's the understatement of the century!). And yet, that's what a majority of our plants have to do. So here are a few easy steps to make their lives easier (and yours, come spring). You ready? Let's help those plants BE GREEN!
Watch [Runs 2:57]
3. Speaking of compost... Now would be a good time to harvest yours. Bring out the fresh, rich earth and feed your plant beds. If your compost isn't entirely ready, sift out the still-rotting bits and plonk them right back in your composter. This will also pave the way for effective winter composting because there'll be more space to chuck stuff in during the cold months when your composter's appetite is sluggish.
4. Tulip Time: Now's an excellent time to plant your spring-flowering bulbs. Daffodils and Narcissus should go in first because they need some time to root in the fall. Tulips can actually be planted all the way up to the end of November, right up until the ground freezes. It may be worth delaying considering if you have critters that like to dig.
5. Mucho mulch: Inviting kids to come over and play in the fall leaves is one painless way to get through this step of the winterizing process. Mulch is basically any shredded plant matter. You can get bark mulch, leaf mulch and other types. Leaf mulch is free--just use the leaves already on your lawn or borrow some from the pavement outside your house. (And if you plan to compost this winter, grab enough to fill a garbage can. I have a video piece coming up later this month which will explain why).
Not bad for a bunch of dead leaves, eh? Plus, this way you don't have to rake 'em.
6. Trim bushes: Get your mind out of the gutter and get those clippers out! It's a good idea to trim the dead or older stalks off bushes and shrubs in order to encourage new growth in the spring. With careful pruning, your garden will flourish faster and become more lush once the weather warms up next year.
7. Pots up!: Most of us have a bunch of annuals out in pots. What most of us don't know is that there's no reason not to try and bring said plants indoors to see if they'll weather an indoor winter. I have tons of friends who do this and save mucho dinero while everyone else is out buying fresh plants in the spring. The other thing to do is to make clippings this time of year. Put them in mason jars full of water (and a few drops of plant food when warranted). By spring they'll have grown roots and be ready to replant. It's kinda like being a midwife. I like!
8. Got gas? I'm talking of the type that goes in your lawnmower and costs the earth. If you happen to have gasoline in your lawnmower, take it out and store it somewhere where it won't freeze. Of course, the only problem with it freezing is if it's still in your tank. Otherwise it's all good.
And voila! Your garden is winterized!
These tips are just the basics. I'd love to hear from you. Do you have simple winterizing tips that you'd like to share with other Montrealers? I'd love to hear from you. Leave me a comment or call our talkback line: (514) 597-5626
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