GARDENING: Winter doesn’t mean time off

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Finally, after three weeks of warm, no-snow weather, there is lots of snow cover.

But, before we get a February thaw and refreeze, mound up all the available snow and any new snow that falls around tender plants like roses. If you have a few boughs left from your Christmas tree, put them over tender plants to catch the snow. It is the freeze/thaw cycle that kills plants. It’s not just the cold.

Start planning your garden projects for 2023. Make a list for the spring, then you will know what you didn’t get done when you check it in June. I have mine done and I am tired already. A garden is never finished!

Start propagating stem cuttings of geraniums, fuchsias, etc. by the end of the month.

Plant slow-germinating seeds inside, like impatiens, peppers, eggplants, etc.

As the weather warms, you can start pruning shade trees, fruit trees and shrubs, if you can get to them through the snow. Leave trees that “bleed” like maples and birch until after they have leaves.

Visit local nursery greenhouses to smell the coming spring. Stop by the Garden Gallery just west of Barrie on Hwy 91 on the way to Angus to just inhale the spring.

You can forget about the big garden shows like Canada Blooms and the Peterborough Garden
show this spring, they have all been cancelled. Think Spring 2024.

Importantly, you should be thinking ahead about spreading heavy-duty triple 19 fertilizer on your flower beds. I used to recommend putting the fertilizer on the snow in mid-March. However, having discussed this at length with the crop specialist (a graduate of Guelph) at the Mid-West CO-OP, she recommended waiting until the snow is gone, the ground is still wet and
new leaves are not yet showing to sprinkle the triple-19 fertilizer on your beds. She says it should last all summer long.

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