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We farm, so we have an abundance of "fresh" fertilizer. The past 2 weeks, we have been collecting it and moving it to our raised garden beds. Many manures, such as horse and cow (among others), will kill a plant if applied directly to it while fresh. Each is different, but cow manure takes 30-45 days to age, so that it is safe for the plants. By adding them to my raised beds now, the heat will be gone by the time we start our planting in mid to late March.
If you know a farmer, most will be more than willing to let you go gather some from their pastures at no charge. It's free, organic, and better on the environment than using the ones with chemicals or found in plastic bags.
Source: I learned this the hard way, after applying it too close to the growing season years ago.
By April from Plattsburg, MO
Catch Up On Your Reading: During the growing season, most gardeners are too busy planning, planting, and problem solving to spend any appreciable time reading books about gardening. Now that the season is over, catch up on your reading. Explore new types of plants and garden techniques and get some inspiration for next year.
Get Organized: Winter is a great time to reorganize the tool shed, clean up neglected pots and seed-starting trays, and layout plans for next year's garden. Think about this past year. What worked well and what might you do differently next year? Take an inventory of your current plants and supplies and make a list of your wants and "must-haves" for next season. If you start your plants indoors, make sure to mark your calendar for when it's time to start seeds.
Stock Up On Supplies: Late fall and early winter can be great times to score discounted prices on supplies like mulch, potting soil, containers, and garden tools. The selection is usually is thinner, but so are the crowds. Take advantage of year-end sales before the lawn and garden equipment is moved out to make room for ice scrapers and snow shovels.
Order Seeds: It's never too early to peruse the garden catalogs and start planning for next year, especially if you want to start seeds early indoors. There are two cardinal rules when it comes to ordering seeds:
Focus On Your Houseplants: Check them carefully for pests and diseases, prune away any dead or leggy foliage, and freshen them up with a little new soil. If plants appear to be getting rootbound, repot them into a container one size larger.
Create Garden Art: If you're the crafty type, the off-season is a great time to take on garden art projects like decorating flower pots, painting garden gnomes, or casting stepping stones.
Try New Recipes: Find a great salsa recipe calling for banana peppers? Discover you love rosemary? If you like to grow vegetables and herbs, experimenting with new recipes can be a great way to help you decide what to grow in next year's garden.
Visit An Indoor Garden: Spending an afternoon at a conservatory is a great way to ward of the winter blues because something's always growing. Many botanical gardens on put on seasonal flower shows, arrange art exhibits, and lead workshops and classes on gardening, cooking, and the arts.
Interact With Gardeners Online: The Internet is home to a huge network of gardeners and garden bloggers. Type "garden blogs" into any search engine and gain instant access to dozens of garden blog directories. There you can connect with other gardeners based on your region or interests. With free platforms like Blogger, even the most technically challenged gardener can have their own blog up and running in under 5 minutes. Blogs are a great way to keep an online gardening journal and to connect with and learn from other gardeners.
Buy Yourself Bouquets: After awhile, winter's lack of warmth and color can make for a dreary outlook. Treat yourself to the occasional bouquet of flowers. Their color, fragrance, and vitality feel good to be around and will help raise your spirits until spring arrives.
Both of my grandfathers swore blue that to plant out any of the fruiting vegetables before Easter was asking for weird weather and replanting. Even though the date for Easter does move around, it certainly has been true for my garden, if I plant before Easter we get a hail storm, or major wind, or rain. If I wait until Easter, we are good to go.
When you are ready to plant out your tomatoes, eggplants, and pepper plants, put some eggshells in the hole first. The egg shells will give the plants some extra calcium which will help stave off "blossom end rot" which is often an indicator of calcium deficiency.
Source: Grampa Honey and Granddaddy Boyd
By MooseMom from Elk Grove, CA
A snowfall is predicted to occur in a few days. So, I wanted to get a few pictures. Some of my plants could be hurt dramatically by heavy snow. As having the pics for my records, I thought I'd share them with you.
Late winter means a lot of work. Debris continues to accumulate past fall. A lot of clean up is in order.
Most of that debris can be salvaged to enrich the potting soil I make. I grade and sift the debris (shown in the bucket), before adding it to my soil. As it breaks down, it adds nutrients and provides excellent drainage.
Here is one of my several young arborvitaes I keep talking about. I fed them a couple of weeks ago, Now, they are really greening up.
Here is a young Buddhlea I am training as a standard. I looked closely at this little one. Would you believe it already has tiny bloom buds on it!
Heat plays the dickens on cabbage plants. They are a cool season crop. They need to be planted early and grown as quickly as you can, so as to get mature plants before the real heat sets in. Here are a few of my fifty some plants.
My day lilies are getting an early start. I'll be needing to find homes for these eager beavers.
This is the euonymus I use to hide an ugly foundation. It can even be used as a ground cover and kept mowed just like grass. As it has so many applications, I keep several tubs of rootings going at any given time.
What a delight to see this. I have several varieties of grapes. This one happens to be one of the early bearers.
I'm growing a row of Leyland cypress as a privacy screen. The one pictured had its top broken out and was marked down to $5.00. In two years, it has grown to a $40.00 plant. Not a bad investment.
The beloved Paeony. One of the first to emerge in spring. This one seldom blooms. It is begging me to give it a home in the ground. And I shall.
It's inevitable. We all lose plants. For some beds I keep spare plants going in the background. These pansies will serve as replacements should some die.
Snow peas are another that must be planted early. In late spring, these will be 7 feet tall and laden with pods. They are so tender and sweet; I eat them straight from the vine.
It seems it's never too early for strawberries to bloom. If these do well in tubs, I will do several tubs, next year.
This wisteria bloom bud is 20 years in the making. Last year, the vine bloomed for the first time. There was just one bloom. This year, the vine is literally covered. A later picture is sure to come. Oh, happy day!
I've forgotten the name of this plant. It is very hardy, blooms off and on throughout the year. I stuck it in a more wooded part of my property. I think it needs company. I will root more. They are easily rooted. Anybody know its name?
This is about half of the pictures I took. Gotta draw the line somewhere.
They say a woman's work is never done. How about a gardener's work? How about a gardener who happens to be a woman? Truth be known, the woman with hoe in hand, did more to build this great land than most men would even dare to think about.
I think I'll take a nap about now.
Winter is a great time for planning, preparing, and organizing next year's garden. Here are some plan-ahead projects for the winter months that will help you get a jump on next year's growing season.
It's winter, and I am covered in mailorder catalogs. I often have two or three open at a time, carefully making my selections of what I think I can grow this coming year. I also know some of the stores will have seeds for sale, very soon.
When it comes to lawn and garden problems, prevention is the best cure. Fall affords gardeners a great opportunity to set the tone for next year's growing season ...
In order to have a bountiful garden, I leave all my bug infested fall produce and rotted produce in the garden for the winter. Or, I dig it in. Where I live, winter is harsh, and it is composted over the winter months.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
What is a hypertufa planter?
By Hydrangeas from Laredo, TX
Hypertufa is a combination of concrete/peat moss/vermiculite to make a lightweight material used to form over/around molds to create planters and other containers. There are a few recipes found in web search. I have "planned" on making some for a few years. Now that I am "re-retired" I plan on getting some done. Good luck and be creative!
Last fall I tilled up a new garden plot and planted a winter rye cover. It came along nicely. I left it the winter and it is now greening nicely. Should I wait or should I till it now? And should I do anything to the soil before I plant. It is for mostly root vegetables.
By Kim L