Gardening: Winter’s coming so there’s plenty to do

Cold, wet, snowy weather always comes too early. It’s a good reminder that winter is just around the corner and it is time to put the yard to bed.

Recent rain and snow has added to the soil moisture but trees and shrubs that are not thriving, recent plants and evergreens should still be watered in. Place the end of a garden hose under the dripline of the plant and let the water trickle out for an hour or so and then move it to another location. If possible, continue this routine until the ground freezes. The extra water will be absorbed by the roots giving the plants a better chance of withstanding at surviving.

To help avoid shrubs and young trees being girdled by rodents, remove all the long grass within a few feet (meter) of the trunks and stems. Rodents will make their homes in long grass and feed on plants that they can reach without exposing themselves to predators. Take away their cover and the critters will go elsewhere.

If slugs were a problem this summer, clean the garden. Removing annuals, cutting back perennials and removing all leaves and debris will expose and remove both slugs and some of the eggs that will hatch next spring. Lightly cultivating or digging the soil will disturb eggs and adults.

Remove all the leaves and debris from under trees that had insect infestations as larva tend to winter under the tree they infest. The larva may be in the grass and debris or within the top inch or two (1-5 cm) of soil. Removing or disturbing their winter home will help control the insects.

Clean up fallen fruit and berries as the rotting fruit will attract undesirable creatures.

Once the ground begins to freeze, cover perennials, shrubs and vines that are not totally winter hardy. Approximately 6 inches (15 cm) of leaves, clean straw or peatmoss make a good insulating layer against the severe cold and fluctuating temperatures. Vines can be taken down and then covered. Build a container around a taller plant with either a box or chicken wire then fill the area between the container and plant with the insulating material. Leave the material loose enough to contain air spaces but no large air pockets.

Plant hard neck garlic and mark the area to remember where it is in the spring. One of the best places to find hardy garlic is from local growers. Many of these advertise or sell at the local markets.

Spring bulbs should be planted as soon as possible to allow them to develop roots before the ground freezes. Follow the planting instructions on the package or use the basic rule of thumb that bulbs should be planted three times as deep as the bulb is tall. Always plant a bulb, pointy side up.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fear of foreign worker shortage impacts veggie production

Innisfail-area grower cut back vegetables that need to be hand picked by one-third

Red Deer singer weathers natural disasters to create an upbeat new tune

Alecia Aichelle says you have to seek out the positives — even under lockdown

Red Deer RCMP looking for missing 49-year-old woman

Red Deer RCMP are looking to verify the well-being of Tracey Church.… Continue reading

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Lethbridge police chief says officers surveilling cabinet minister inexcusable

Alta. — The head of the Lethbridge Police Service in southern Alberta… Continue reading

Sources say Canada, U.S. travel ban likely to continue into late August

WASHINGTON — Canada and the United States are now widely expected to… Continue reading

Manitoba sees first new COVID-19 cases in two weeks

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s 13-day streak without new COVID-19 infections ended Tuesday as… Continue reading

B.C.’s budget surges to $12.5 billion deficit because of pandemic

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s balanced budget has been shattered by the COVID-19… Continue reading

Maxwell denied bail on Epstein-related sex abuse charges

NEW YORK — Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, will remain behind… Continue reading

Monahan, Lindholm, Gaudreau await reunion at Calgary Flames camp

CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau’s separation from his linemates continued into the second… Continue reading

Trump administration rescinds rule on foreign students

BOSTON — Facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities,… Continue reading

Trump signs bill, order rebuking China, and slams Biden

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed legislation and an executive… Continue reading

Most Read