Tag Archive: gardening

Bedding Down for the Winter: Cold-Weather Gardening Tips

Because I work for a team of Aberdeen landscape gardeners I know all about winter gardening – believe me! When the cold weather approaches, a gardener's work seems to be winding down. It's true, you have a lot less to do in the garden in winter. If you want to enjoy another great year of gardening when winter is finally over, though, you can invest a little effort in preparing your plants and soil to weather the cold months properly. Here are some great ways to bundle your garden up for winter.

One of the most obvious gardening tasks you'll have with the arrival of winter weather is pulling up the plants that die off. To minimize the hassle involved in this process, be patient and let your whole garden die down. It'll take less effort to clear the ground entirely, in one big stroke. Also, letting some of the organic material from your dead plants kick-start the natural decomposition process improves the long-term health of your soil. As you'll soon see, winter garden preparation is all about caring for your soil.

Before your garden experiences its first hard freeze, add in some fertilizer. Ammonium sulfate makes an excellent winter fertilizer. It adds nutritious nitrogen to your soil and also drops the pH balance. Over the course of the winter, this fertilizer will work slowly but constantly, getting your garden ready to thrive once spring comes. While any nitrogen-rich fertilizer will work in this role, you'll find ammonium sulfate (one of the milder fertilizers) is extremely cost-effective for cold-weather fertilizing.

You can add plenty of other stuff to your soil at this time. If you've finished the growing season with any excess compost, now is the perfect time to mix it into the soil. Old mulch is also great to work into the ground. These materials will perform in the same way as your fertilizer, rejuvenating the soil and laying the groundwork for outstanding plant growth next year. Plus, working this stuff into your soil is a much more efficient way to dispose of it than simply hauling it away.

Once you've invested all this work in preparing your soil for a long winter's nap, make sure you protect it from the oncoming cold weather! A heavy winter mulch is perfect for locking in moisture and helping your soil retain heat. A four-inch wood chip blanket makes an ideal winter ground cover, and it'll keep your garden in tip-top condition no matter how far the mercury drops. Once again, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the low price you'll pay for winter mulch; cheap, rough-cut wood chips are perfectly adequate for this task.

Finally, you may want to look into laying down a cover crop. This is a planting of some hardy species that can survive a winter. Many cover crops make attractive winter ground covers. More importantly, there's nothing better than a winter planting to keep soil erosion at bay. This can be vitally important if you live in a region that features lots of precipitation during the colder months. Consult your local nursery to find out which plant species are best suited for use as cover in your area.

Marshall your gardening energy and invest the necessary effort in wintertime preparations. You'll see the results right away when the weather gets warm again. You won't regret your hard work when your garden starts to thrive early in the spring planting season!


The Importance of Irrigation

Your home is an investment.  In fact, despite current economic situations, real estate remains one of the safest investments that you can make.  Making improvements to your property not only makes it more of a home, but improves it from an investment standpoint, as well.

Few things can be done on your property that will have as immediate, long lasting and dramatic an impact on its value and marketability as landscaping does.  That being the case, when planning for the long-term success of your landscaping project it is very important to think about the extended care of your investment through irrigation. 

You may be unsure if you even need an irrigation system for the plan you are envisioning.  Perhaps you think that you can always install one later if you need it.  These are dangerous mistakes that homeowners make in planning that can lead to a landscaping nightmare.

Your landscape is not a one-time project.  It will require a prolonged commitment of time and money.  In fact, the most well thought out landscape schemes are years in the making and are developed in stages.  Installation is actually the least time-consuming aspect of landscaping.  More involved are the ongoing needs of upkeep, weeding, fertilizing and watering.  Of those, watering is undeniably the most time consuming and has to be done most regularly. 

Most individuals lack time in their busy schedules to commit to adequate watering and landscape upkeep.  Manual watering cannot be beat for effective water usage, but it isn't the most effective use of time.  With larger landscapes it becomes almost completely unpractical and an irrigation system become almost a necessity.

As such, before you ever plant the first plant, you should take the time to look at the big picture.  Be realistic about you time constraints and decide if you will really have the time to put into watering and maintaining your investment.  Trying to cut corners on irrigation at the onset can be an expensive blunder later. 

The simple fact is, it is much easier and less expensive to install an irrigation system before you begin the project than it is to try to install one further down the line.  After investing so much into the actual installations of your landscaping scheme, you arent going to want to dig them up and risk destroying them to trench out water lines.  Trying to install an irrigator at a later date can prove to be a major setback for your landscaping project.

In reality, it is better to have an irrigation system that you dont really need than it is to need one and not have it.  Your landscape project is a major investment, and as with any investment, you want to be smart about it and protect it.  Your irrigation system is even an investment in itself and increases your properties value and appeal on the market.  That being the case, installing an irrigation system is simply the smart move for most homeowners.

If you are still confused and have some questions, be sure to head to greenthumbguide.net or contact us here.