Are you itching to dig in the dirt? Are you studying the seed catalogs that arrive in the mail almost daily? Is your garden journal sitting close by so that you can make notes about your newest ideas for the landscape?
According to the University of Illinois Extension’s yard and garden news letter, gardening is a year round activity. There is always something to do. If you can’t think of any gardening tasks, here are a few tips to get you thinking.
Snow and ice on trees and shrubs- As we get into winter, the threat of damage from snow and ice is always near. When snow piles up on evergreens, try to gently brush it off. Don’t shake the branches as this may cause them to break. If the snow is frozen on the branch and will not brush off easily, it is best to let it melt naturally, to avoid damage to the tree or shrub.
If tree limbs break due to the weight of ice or snow, it is advisable to have the broken limbs removed as soon as the weather permits. Hanging branches can be a danger to passing pedestrians and cars. Also, the tree will be able to heal the wound better in spring if the wound has clean edges instead of ragged tears.
Holiday plants- Turning to the indoor environment, you need to keep your holiday plants fresh and blooming. Most of our blooming holiday plants prefer to be in a cool room. This keeps the plant in flower longer. Most holiday plants also need a bright room (some do well with direct sun, others do not). Keep these plants out of drafts to keep them in good health.
Seed order- If you order seeds from a catalog, get your order in as soon as possible. Early orders help insure that you get the seeds you want and that you have them in time to start them indoors if you want.
Nuisance insects- It is very common to find insects meandering around the house in winter. All kinds of critters come into the house looking for a place to rest for the winter. Common nuisance pests are Boxelder bugs, houseflies, squash bugs and the multicolored Asian ladybeetles. As you encounter nuisance insects, just vacuum them up. Avoid smashing them as some leave stains or odors when smashed.
Don’t store firewood in the house. Insects can come in with firewood. Leave the wood outside until you are ready to build a fire.
I can’t write about winter gardening tips without reminding everyone to feed the birds during this cold and snowy weather. Our feeding station on our deck has attracted a large number of birds. At one point I counted 25 cardinals fussing at each other while trying to eat as many black oil sunflower seeds as they could.
Mark your calendars for the Feb. 18 gardening seminar sponsored by the OSUE Brown County Master Gardener Volunteers being held at the Mt. Orab campus of SSCC in room 107 starting at 7 p.m. Susan Barber will be talking about how to design and start your garden. All seminars are free and open to the public.