A Gardener’s Diary: Prepping for the new season

Soon the shortest days of the year will be behind us and I will look forward to a new season

  • Dec. 6, 2017 6:30 a.m.

A few more weeks and the shortest days of the year will be behind us and I will be looking forward to starting a new season again. I managed to get the garden ready for winter. I planted some tulips in pots and some of them will be forced into early blooms and the other ones will be running their usual course and blooming early spring.

I left seven fig trees in my cold frames and they are covered with a lot of shredded leaves. I am hoping for a mild winter and an early spring. Time will tell if I can save them.

Now that the cold days and freezing nights are here, there is nothing much to do except to look through the seed catalogues and gardening magazines and dream. This is the best time to plan for next year’s garden. While it is still fresh in your mind, make a list of what went wrong and the successes you had during the last year.

This is also time to check on houseplants and any plants you brought indoors for the winter. Even if they were sprayed before coming in, eggs could have been left on them. With the heat on, you can have some nasty surprises. If this happens, use insecticidal soap. Don’t forget to check the dahlia tubers and canna lilies that are in storage. If they are getting too dry, you can mist them a bit.

The bird feeders should be filled. I stop feeding them in the summer because the quail cause too much damage in the garden. In winter, I don’t mind them around.

After snowfall, it is a good idea to brush the snow gently with a broom to prevent broken branches from your evergreens. Sometimes the snow is so heavy, it bends some branches right down to the ground.

Check the winter vegetables that you have harvested and make sure they do not rot. If you have too much and cannot use them on time, share them. When so many go hungry, it would be a shame to waste food.

This is the last gardening column for 2017. The next one will be sometime in February 2018. Many of us are busy with shopping and parties, gifts received and gifts given. Don’t forget to be generous for all that are not so lucky. I want to wish you all Merry Christmas and a very peaceful season.

Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast in the North Okanagan and member of Okanagan Gardens & Roses Club.

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