For many of us Gardening and our Fall / Winter projects get pushed to the back burned starting late October through New Years day we are up to our knees in Family and Holiday activities. Now it is time to do all those projects that have been put off grin… in come ignored.
Gasoline powered equipment, lawn mowers, weed eaters, leaf blowers, tillers and such needs to be put into long term storage.
* Clean equipment removing dirt, grease and spilled oil.
* Fuel drained or at least fuel stabilizer added to fuel tanks.
* Fuel filters replaced.
* Oil drained, oil and filters replaced.
* Cutting blades removed, inspected and sharpened or replaced.
If you use salt to melt ice on walks and driveways, spread it carefully to avoid damage to nearby shrubs. Consider using sand or sawdust instead.
* Brush snow from evergreens as soon as possible after a storm. Use a broom in an upward, sweeping motion. Serious damage may be caused by heavy snow or ice accumulating on the branches.
Now is a good time to evaluate your landscape. For easier lawn maintenance, eliminate those hard to mow spaces. Eliminate acute angles in beds and borders. Combine single trees or shrubs into a large planting connected with ground cover. Put bird feeders and your bird bath in a flower bed or surround it with ground cover.
* Review your vegetable garden plans. When reviewing your garden catalogs for new vegetable varieties to try, an important consideration is improved insect and/or disease resistance. Watch also for drought-tolerant and bush types.
* Check your stored fruits and vegetables such as potatoes and apples for bad spots which may lead to decay. Remove and use those which show signs of spoiling. Separate others into slotted trays or bins to increase air circulation and reduce decay possibilities.
* Turn and prune house plants regularly to keep them shapely. Pinch back new growth to promote bushy plants. Check house plants closely for insect infestations. Quarantine gift plants until you determine that they are not harboring disease or insect pests.
* During the winter most houses are too dry for house plants. Humidity may be increased by placing plants on trays lined with pebbles and filled with water to within one half inch of the base of the pot. If you heat with wood, keep a pot of water on the stove. The added moisture will be healthier for you as well as your plants.
* House plants with large leaves and smooth foliage, such as philodendrons, dracaena and rubber plant benefit if their leaves are washed at intervals to remove dust and grime, helping keep the leaf pores open.
* To clean crusty clay pots, add one cup each of white vinegar and household bleach to a gallon of warm water and soak the pots. For heavily crusted pots, scrub with a steel wool pad after soaking for 12 hours.
* If you have some time this winter, paint the handles of garden tools red, yellow or orange. This will preserve the wood and make the tools easier to locate next summer when you lay them down in the garden or on the lawn.
* Move garden ornaments such as urns or jars into the garage or basement to prevent damage during the cold winter season. If containers are too large to move, cover them to prevent water collecting in them or turn them upside down during the winter so water will not collect and freeze in them causing breakage.
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