Year-round gardening: There’s plenty to do in the winter – Colorado Springs Gazette


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Winter on the Front Range is unpredictable, with dramatic fluctuations in temperatures, precipitation and wind.Snow accumulation might persist for a day, a week or months. And while spring might seem like a long way off to gardeners, take heart because there are activities to keep you engaged.November• Water trees, shrubs and perennials at least monthly when the ground is not frozen, the temperature is above 40 degrees, and there is no snow or ice present. Evergreens have needles (leaves) year-round so are especially sensitive to winter drought conditions.• Wrap young tree trunks with flexible crepe paper tree wrap, starting at the trunk base and finishing at first branch height. Leave in place until April.• If you haven’t planted spring-flowering bulbs, do so before the ground freezes. Remember, pointy tip side up. Buy a few extra for winter forcing in January.• Store unused garden chemicals in a dry place above 32 degrees, out of the reach of kids and pets.December• Group houseplants close to windows. Run a humidifier or place plants on water-filled pebble saucers away from drafts. Decrease or stop fertilizer applications.• When Christmas tree shopping, make sure the needles are green and pliable and that the trunk base is sticky. Recut the trunk base when you get it home and place tree in fresh water.• Provide food and water outside for your feathered friends.January• Sketch current garden plans to scale on graph paper and decide what worked well, what needs transplanting and what should be gifted to friends and neighbors come spring.• Order seed and plant catalogs and/or peruse websites. Spend happy hours planning, ordering and dreaming.• Discard stored bulbs such as dahlias and elephant ears that are soft, moldy or shriveled.• Clean, sharpen, oil and store garden tools in a safe, dry place.• Force spring-flowering bulbs into an early bloom. Paper white Narcissus, hyacinths and tulips are an uplifting gift of flowers and fragrance.• Repot houseplants as they outgrow containers.• Check mulches and replenish as necessary.• Gently remove heavy snow from shrubbery to prevent limb breakage.• Cut back ornamental grasses to the ground. Use hedge shears and wear gloves for protection from the sharp edges of some species.• Test leftover seeds: Place 10 seeds between moist paper towels and cover with a thin soil layer. Keep seeds moist and warm. If fewer than six seeds germinate, toss them and buy new seed.• Start cool-season vegetable seeds indoors so they can be transplanted to the garden early in the season.• Begin garden supply list, including plants, fertilizers, tools, staking materials, mulches, etc.• Get soil tested to learn the nutrient content, the pH, the texture (drainage capabilities) and the organic content percentage. you have gardening questions, email [email protected] For more information, visit To sign up for classes, go to

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