GARDENER IN WINTER

I’m back to blogging after AWOL for a year. With a lot of things going on aside from the pandemic and a full-time job, I’ve been doing easy posting on Instagram instead of blogging. But I do miss writing, researching and taking photos with a camera instead of iPhone. Here I am…

With snow covered garden and frigid cold outside, it’s the best time to prepare for a cooler spring. We’ve been practicing organic gardening for the last 20 years and that makes gardening much simpler and healthier. The first couple of years was difficult. A lot of our flowers and vegetables became insect food. Deer, rabbits and woodchucks raided our garden regularly. Organic spray didn’t help. Killing them was never an option. After a few try and errors we discover close to a perfect solution.

Deer can easily jump over a solid 6 foot fence but not a black net. They can feel that something is there but they can’t see how high so they won’t jump over. We netted the whole backyard, 6 foot tall net with 2 foot high chicken wire at the bottom. The chicken wire is to prevent rabbits and woodchucks. We buried the wire 6 inches down and 1 foot outward in an ‘L’ shape. So far we had a baby bunny breach once. We no longer have to pay for an expensive organic animal repellent. We no longer have to spend time spraying our garden every other day or right after the rain. We also don’t have to deal with the smell of the repellent (garlic & rotten eggs). But we can still see the landscape around us.

Once the deer, rabbits and woodchucks were disinvited, our garden is lush again. Our anxiety also subsided. We can’t really do much about squirrels and chipmunks except to put chicken wire on the surface of the area where we just planted bulbs, preventing them from digging up our treasure.

Late winter or early spring is the best time to put up the net or for mending it. When the ground is soft enough to put poles in and bury chicken wire, it’s also easy to maneuver the net when there are no leaves on the branches.

Winter is also a time to figure out which plants should be relocated where and which ones should be divided. Once spring comes, dig them up when they have just pushed up above the soil or before the leaf buds unfurl. I usually move or divide my Garden Phlox, sedum, hardy geranium around this time.

Now, is also the time to leaf through plants & seed catalogs like a kid in a candy store. A time to see what I can add to the garden and new vegetables I should try. Order seed packages now while they’re still in stock.

These are some catalogs I like. I usually order organic seeds and native plants. I keep our birds and insect friends in mind while I browse through these catalogs.

Have fun planning!

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