Think Pruning – Garden Catalogs – Investigating
How hot or cold is it where you live? Can you see your frozen breath or do you just need a warmer jacket? As you adapt to the weather, so do your garden and fruit trees. Wintertime means winter pruning, availability of new seed catalogs, and researching garden plants.
Those with winter gardens – keep it going! As you stroll through your garden, check for growth, compost needs, and runoff water. If you’re getting lots of rain or snowmelts, think about soil containment.
The goal is to keep your soil from eroding. One way is through a cover crop that gets planted at the end of a growing season, when you will not grow in the next season. Layering your garden with heavy breathable material, such as burlap, also helps keep the soil intact.
If you’re under a sheet of snow, your plants have a natural warm blanket. The snow adds insulation to your garden, worms, and soil. This insulation allows for root vegetables to continue growing. As well as allowing your winter garlic to mature underground before the leaves shoot through the ground come June.
Look at your fruit trees. What do you see? Leafless, dead branches or vibrant root systems?
Deciduous fruit trees, trees that lose their leaves in the winter, become dormant during cold months. During dormancy, the tree stores its food in the root system for spring growth.
Trimming doesn’t harm the tree because nutrients are not stored in the branches. Pruning helps trees grow by removing unhealthy limbs, which frees up precious nutrients that can go to the root system instead of to a dying limb.
In spring, nutrients flow from the root system to the top of the tree, aiding in healthy branches, new growth, leaves, and fruit.
An added benefit of winter pruning is the ability to see the entire tree without the leaves distracting you.
If you’re following biodynamical gardening, check your biodynamical calender for optimal pruning days.
New Seed Catalogs Become Available
Seed and garden companies put out new catalogs between December and March each year in the Northern Hemisphere. You can browse the internet for like-minded companies, then request a print catalog or search and buy online.
Most companies ship their catalog free in the United States. Print and on-line catalogs contain detailed pictures and information for each plant. Many companies offer free newsletters with garden information and added bargains throughout the year.
Looking For a Garden Bargain?
Wintertime equals bargains from many garden companies. Companies need to clear out extra supplies from the previous year. Plus, they often offer “early bird” discounts for orders placed before a specific date. Don’t worry, if you’re ordering plants or seedlings, you won’t receive them until it’s planting time in your area.
Investigate New Growing Crops.
Is there a specific food you love, but live in the wrong growing region? By investigating how a plant grows may let you create the right environment for success.
One of my favorite foods is Jicama pronounced hee-cama. It’s a root plant in the legume family that thrives in the Southwest. To cultivate Jicama successfully, you need nine or more months of warm weather. Living off the Canadian-American border, I’m lucky to get five months of frost free weather.
My solution, we started growing Jicama in January inside. We grew the plants in black containers near a window for light and a heater vent for warmth. Come June we moving the plants outside, leaving them in their containers until the weather cooled down in October and moved them back inside. We had a small yet successful Jicama harvest in October.
As you pour through catalogs on these cold winter days, be mindful of your garden space, wants, and needs. Start ordering your seeds, plants, and seedlings now while supply is abundant.
As you’re ordering seeds, make mental and written notes on where you will plant your food and what supplies you will need.
Once you put in your seed order, start getting all your supplies into one area. So you’ll be ready to plant, indoors or outdoors.