29 October 2017

A Few Winter Tips

Plant containers for cuttings
When taking cuttings of cold hardy perennials for rooting over the winter, you can use your bare bed space to keep them outside.

 Instead of putting the containers on top of the soil where you have to keep them watered, plant the containers in the ground. The soil will keep them warmer, rain and snow will keep them moist and they can easily be covered late winter for getting jump start on growth.

Clamshells for winter sowing
 I also use this method for planting seeds (in clear plastic clamshells) that need cold stratification to germinate.

  In these two are Agastache and Chinese Parasol tree. Over the next couple of weeks  they will have lots of company.

  If winter sowing seeds is new to you, here are a few sites
 - http://wintersown.org/
 - https://getbusygardening.com/winter-sowing-seeds/
 - https://www.facebook.com/groups/wintersown/
 - http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/11/winter-sowing-101-6/
 - https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-winter-sowing-1403095

  The basic idea is that perennials need and want cold, moist, stratification in order to germinate. Putting them directly onto the ground risks their being washed away by hard rains. The containers can be left on top of the ground but  you have to water them more.

My go-to seed germination chart is at http://tomclothier.hort.net/

DIY mini greenhouses
In order to protect my herbs a little longer, Jon wired together salvaged house windows that I use as mini-greenhouses out in the beds.

Under glass there is parsley, oregano, marjoram, sage, lovage and rosemary.

Since the glass is there, I stuck several Red Russian kale seeds in the ground. The seeds are up and were undisturbed by the freezes we had the past two nights.

Lots of plants were not damaged by the freeze including perennial herbs that can take a real beating and keep on producing delicious leaves as well as food for pollinators.

Our garden has lavender, lemon balm, oregano, mints, sage, thyme, rosemary, sage.

Of course, the basil turned black. I put in 20 or more basil plants this year from seed but didn't buy seed for next spring. I'm anticipating lots of volunteers from all those gone-to-seed giant basils out there.


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