Friday, 6 January 2017

January Garden Ramblings

I started thinking about spring gardening as soon as the yuletide was over. Well, it was actually during the holidays, but let's leave that as our little secret ; )

What to do this month? 

For the wildlife...

Feed the birds. I am still making lovely bird seed wreaths for the birds, as food sources are pretty slim pickings right now, with this unusually wintry weather.

Besides, wreaths look great hanging from my tree, and I so enjoy watching the birds flit about.

For three birdseed wreath recipes, please see HERE!

I saw a hummingbird in the tree yesterday and so am now considering putting out the hummer feeder, too. We have the beautiful Anna's year round, here on the island. Think they must really be having a hard time getting enough food from our frozen landscape.

If you are going to feed them, the Wild Bird Shop recommends that you use a 3 to 1 water/sugar ratio in winter and have two feeders on the go. Keep rotating them so that they do not freeze through. Put a cozy over top of it to help keep it from freezing, or hang under a light bulb that emits heat. Change the sugar water every three to five days.

While we are on the subject of birds, this is also a great time to empty and clean out nesting boxes and houses for spring.

In the greenhouse

Use yellow sticky traps to monitor your pest population

Check for bugs. Keep an eye on things every week or so, to make sure that you do not end up with a huge explosion of bugs just as you fill the greenhouse with hundreds of little seedlings.

I put out yellow sticky traps and count the bugs on it every few days or so. If it remains pretty empty of bugs, all is well. If there are new ones, I spray with insecticidal soap once a week for three weeks. If you suddenly find that you have lots and lots of new ones, is time look into getting some kind of organic bio control, like nematodes or mites, depending on what the problem bug is.  

Continue to water frugally for another month yet. Remove any yellowing foliage or spent blossoms to prevent them from growing fuzz. Fuzz is not good.

Seeds that can be started this month. 
sweet peas

What to do outdoors... 

Not a whole lot of garden rambling going on at the potager right now, must admit. The snow that we had a few weeks back, has frozen into a slippery, icy mess, so is dangerous for walking on.

The potager and raised beds are ice covered and frozen solid 

When it melts or if you have better access...

Prune your fruit trees. This is a great time to prune back your apples, plums, and other fruit trees. Can be done this month or next, but March is too late.

Prune back roses, too. Cut back rose bushes to about 1.5 feet to let them branch out again in spring.

Prune fruiting and ornamental shrubs now, too. 

When the temps are a bit warmer, spray both roses and fruit trees with a dormant spray of horticultural oil and lime sulphur. This will take care of any over-wintering pests or fungal diseases. Read instructions for use on the box. 

Rake up and compost any soggy, spent perennials, like asters, mums, coneflowers and rudbeckias.

Remove and compost any soggy veggies destroyed by the hard frosts.

My seed cabinet
plus workshop planning and prepping clipboards... 

This cold and yucky winter weather is really great for getting in seed orders, organising the office, going through old seeds, and updating blogs and websites ; )  

I also love to go through previous years' journals and then make new plans for the year ahead.

What to do indoors... 

Go through your seeds and toss out any that are old and out of date. Most seeds are good for 3 to 4 years, some even longer, while anything in the allium family is only good for one year. Buy new dill and onion seeds annually.

Make a garden plan of what you would like to grow and and a list of the seeds you will need. Take the list with you when you go to Seedy Saturdays or garden centres.

Plot out seeding dates in your garden journal so that you know when to start what.

Read gardening books, plan something new and different for this year, book a workshop, attend a webinar. Read, learn, plan and enjoy!

May Garden Ramblings

Well, here we are, it is finally the month of May... the busiest planting month of the year. This is when everything happens! We will a...