Winterizing your Garden
You winterize your car and garden equipment, right?
Don’t forget your gardens! Summer blooming bulbs including dahlias and gladiolus will not overwinter in our midwest climate. If you want those pretty (and larger) flowers next summer, here are a few easy steps for storage.
Harvesting: First of all, wait for the first hard frost. Until that time the bulbs are still storing energy through their foliage for the next growing season.
When the foliage starts to yellow, go ahead and dig up the bulbs, careful not to cut or damage them in the process. Dry the bulbs and gently brush off any excess soil before storing.
Storing: Bulbs keep best in a cool dry place that is protected from freezing. A cool corner of the basement or garage area that will not freeze works well. Layer bulbs so they are not touching and cover with newspaper between layers. Be sure to check bulbs several times over winter.
Perennials can be cut back after several hard frosts, even better if you can wait until the ground is frozen. Protect the root systems of perennials from our harsh climate with oak leaves or evergreen boughs. Oak leaves do not break down easily as other leaves do and the evergreen boughs are an easy clean up in spring.
But, wait! Not so fast. If you have Echinacea (coneflowers) or Rudbeckia, consider leaving them up for winter interest. The goldfinch and other birds will feast on their seed heads as their other food sources disappear. Sedum is another perennial that looks beautiful over winter, especially after a light snowfall. Enjoy them for winter interest in the garden and cut them back next spring. A little effort in fall will give you a jump start on your gardens next spring.
Floral Hanging and Patio Planter Care:
All plants need 3 things to thrive:
Light, Water & Food
Light: The great thing about planters and baskets is that they are mobile. If the plant isn't doing well where you have it, try moving it to more sun or shade. It just might be happier in its new home.
Plant Tag Tip:
Sunny ? Prefers full sun or at least hot afternoon sun
Shady? Prefers all day shade, but ok with morning light.
Water: More important as we get into our summer months, plants need water to grow and properly take up nutrition. If the soil has shrunk away from the sides of the pot, it has most likely dried out too much. Water! Also, a good way to judge is to lift the basket or patio planter. You can judge by the weight how much water it may need.
Food: Even more important as you begin to water more frequently! In the heat of summer, it is not unusual to water our greenhouse plants twice a day. Use a water soluble fertilizer (we suggest one similar to what we use in our watering system here: Fertilome Blooming and Rooting) at least once a week during the growing season. You will see a difference in the amount of color and health of your flowers. Enjoy!
Did you know that there are culinary herbs
and vegetable varieties that do well in containers?
Most herb, pepper plants and specific
tomato varieties are great for patio planters like the one shown here.
Here at Yerke Frog Alley Greenhouses we also grow "instant"
vegetable gardens that do well all summer long.
Enjoy fresh herbs and vegetables for your favorite meals
and you don't even have to weed a garden...how about that?
We also have the individual plants in pots that you
can plant up yourself. Either way, what better way to
do your own "farm to table" fresh vegetables and herbs?
Frog Alley Garden Hack:
Is your herb garden an "over-achiever"?
You can freeze and/or dry many types of herbs for winter use. For example, if you have a favorite combination for soups or stews, chop them up and place in an ice cube tray. Fill each section with enough water to cover the fresh herbs and freeze. Once frozen, label a zip lock bag with the ingredients and pop them into the bag, then to the freezer. When that favorite recipe comes up, just toss the ice cubes into your kettle or slow cooker and you have fresh herbs from your very own garden.
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