Winter Garden Checklist

In The Garden

08-02-2022 • 8 mins

Keith: [00:00:00] Hey, Keith Ramsey with garden supply company. People are always asking what to do in the wintertime in the garden. And there's, there's a long list of, to do's in the winter. Not many people want to go out because we've got such cold weather. One of my favorite things to do while it's cool is spreading mulch.

It requires a minor cleanup picking up sticks and debris, raking the beds out, and getting everything ready for spring. You usually want to cut your perennial plants that need cleaning up or pruning. And there's lots of pruning.

That can be done during the wintertime, so once you get through some of those projects, we'll touch back on pruning further down, but Once you get all the beds cleaned out. Mulching is a hot process. The mulch itself [00:01:00] creates a lot of heat, and when it's cool out, it's a nice thing to you'll go out with a heavy coat.

And, as soon as you get into that mulch pile, you'll be shedding layers. And so it's something I like to do, it's probably not a bad thing this time of year because I don't know about everybody else, but I had way too many calories over Christmas. And that's a calorie-burning project for sure.

Get you out, do something good for your heart, and burn calories. Mulch also holds moisture in the ground, and it contains a lot of heat in the ground. So it's good for plant roots. We say our plants repeatedly, but winter, fall, winter, and early spring is the time to plant.

You can plant 12 months out of the year. There's no, no better time than when the plants are dormant. But you get a plant in the ground, and it's in the middle of winter, and you put mulch on it. The reason it places this stuff in the ground in the wintertime is so good is that we've got the plants will [00:02:00] grow roots all through the winter.

And, but when you mulch it, you're adding heat to the heat, to the ground. You're going to grow a lot more roots, a lot faster. It knocks the edge off of the cold for the plants. So it's an excellent thing for the plant in the wintertime and then suitable for weed control. You're getting ahead of the head of the schedule your molten and things that you might get to germinate that are on the surface.

And then the cold weather is going to kill them out. When I'm cleaning up prepping for mulch, a lot of the debris that we have, I've got a fire pit, so I'm picking up sticks and stuff like that. I drop them in the fire pit, and I'm prepping myself. I'll break them up and build a fire at the same time.

And it's an excellent way to get rid of that kind of stuff if all, and, or take it, taking it out to the street. But sometimes, when we're working in the yard, depending on the time of the year, if it's cool, I will fire up the fire pit and keep dropping the Dixon or pinecones in as we're working in the yard, makes it a little more enjoyable.

And then compost piles. If you've got a, you're raking up leaves and debris, and cutting [00:03:00] perennials back North Carolina soil needs compost probably more than the heavy clay soil benefits from top dressing or digging compost in. It's worth every penny by the bag when you're planting because you don't have.

A decent amount of compost and good soil. Plants aren't going to do as well as they could. They'll probably live, but they're not going to do as well as possible. But when you got compost, that's just coming out of your compost pile. A, it's probably more alive than a bag of soil.

But B, it's free. And it gives you it's a shorter walk. You don't have. Package it up in a bag and put it at the curb where it has to go to a composting facility, and then you're buying it on the other end. When you start a compost pile, that's a good winter project if that's something.

I usually use a little bit of nitrogen in there. Nitrogen-fixing organisms are what break down the compost. Adding just a handful of any fertilizer or just a nitrogen-based fertilizer is good. It's good to get a compass fired up and hot, and then some compost starter, like a [00:04:00] stoma, has an excellent compost starter and a few cups of that to the pile as you're adding stuff debris, it will just speed the process.

And then every spring, I have some fresh worms too. We always order in worms and have red worms in your compost pile. We'll undoubtedly speed the process of breaking stuff down. The other thing this time of year I started looking at is I'll begin collecting seeds, looking at the seed rack, and figuring out what I'm going to grow something new for this year.

Seeing what's available, just making sure that some of my favorite varieties are available, and the seeds in the last few years have been hard to come by. The availability just hasn't been there. I like to get my sources in early and have them sitting on the shelf ready to go, and I can plan out my garden at that time.

Soil testing is something that I always think about. Winter, time's a good time to do it. The state does it for free. It's probably the single best thing you can do for your soil. Figure out where you're at with pH so that you can make some adjustments to the. And then knowing what it's lacking in micronutrients and then nitrogen phosphorus and [00:05:00] potash so that you can make those adjustments in your plant is getting what it needs.

Lime is inexpensive to add to the soil, and it just makes a huge difference. So in the wintertime, if, even if you don't get a soil sample out, just lime in your landscape line, lime in your garden getting lime out on your grass, people usually come in and buy one or two bags.

It's probably something in most cases where people need three to five bags; more extensive lawns need 10 to 20. It takes a lot of property to make a difference. And when you're adding lime, you're adding calcium. In the garden, that will be beneficial to, or tomatoes or peppers and that kind of stuff.

And that gives it time to break down, and it's readily available in the soil. And your stuff's going to do a whole lot better. In the last few weeks, we just have started looking at what we've started prepping for putting some bags together. For people who don't have the space or don't have a big garden outside planning, lettuce bags are all kinds of fabric bags now that you can [00:06:00] buy seeding those indoors.

You can start to harvest them indoors, or you can move them in. They're small enough, they produce a fair amount, and you can stagger that crop. So you could plant lettuce every week if you wanted, and in five or ten bags and then cycle through them as they're ready. And we talked about pruning. The one thing about pruning as you can see into the plant, see where to plant, where branches are crossing over, and you need to remove those. You also know the plant's overall shape, so you can start to shape it. If the plant needs to be reduced in size, you can cut the plant. Structurally pruning things that are, we're limbs getting too heavy.

You can take some of the weight off of it, and it's just all there. And it's all visual in the wintertime. It's the other time. The other thing that I'm looking at while I'm looking at pruning is the hard part of the garden, the bones of a garden, and figuring out structurally where we're missing stuff.

You can all things that need to be screened or a neighbor's window that you could block out. It's a good time. You. [00:07:00] To see that stuff. And, you get used to it as the winter goes on. Still, if you take a good hard look putting a plan or two in this time of year, a year or so from now, you're not looking at your neighbor's window, or they're not looking into your backyard or side yard, or if you've got an eyesore trash can and that kind of stuff that you want to screen that's a good time to figure it out.

And sometimes you got a deciduous plant there in the springtime. And it's covered up, and you're not looking at it and then, or deciduous tree, and you can't see it, and then wintertime rolls around, and you remember it. And then you forget about it as long as the tree leaves that back out, but that's a good time to transplant a deciduous plant and then come back in and come back in and do something.

That's evergreen that you're going to have year-round. We were just figuring out the bones and the garden and taking care of some of that stuff. We'll see you next time.