Brighten up a dull winter with these gardening tricks
Monday, December 14, 2015, 1:14 PM - Winter isn't a time to neglect the garden. While it may appear as if all plant activity has stopped, there is a lot more that can be done.
While cool weather is upon is, it is a good time to clean up outdoors, bloom perennials, transplant and start indoor gardening.
Horticulturalist Ken Brown of Whitby, Ont., has been dallying in the dirt for most of his life. He has a few gardening tasks that will help you get ahead of the game in time for spring.
1) Leaves: A valuable resource
- Rather than looking at them as a nuisance, it takes very little effort to recycle leaves into a fantastic soil conditioner. Simply dump the leaves in your garden, spread them out and go over with a lawn mower. The fine bits work as an organic mulch. It helps the soil retain moisture and acts as a shield from hard rains and drying sunshine.
2) Growing your own houseplants: The date trick
- This trick will land you the perfect date, but not the one you can bring to your Christmas party. Turns out you can enjoy eating this fruit and also use it for indoor gardening. Take a few pits, plant them in soil and water them every so often. After a couple of years of growing and transferring into larger pots, you can wind up with a date palm.
3) Transplanting houseplants
- Sometimes your indoor plants grow too big and it's time to transplant. According to gardening guru Ken Brown, the trick of course is when you do this, do not try to get the plant out of the pot. Instead, try to get the pot off of the plant. This way everything stays intact. Cut off a few of the live roots at the end of your plant to help the propagation process in the new soil. The new pot should only be about an inch bigger than the previous. If you use too large a container, the extra soil will soak up too much water, the plant’s roots will grow more than necessary and foliage and flower growth could decrease.
4) Daffodils in February
- Believe it or not you can have blooming perennials in the winter. Take daffodil bulbs for instance, plant them in a small pot with soil. Work the soil down between the bulbs, give them a good soak and place the pot in a cold room. Check the bulbs about once a month to see if they need more water. Daffodils require about six to eight weeks of cool climate. Thereafter, take the bulbs out of the cold room and they will start blooming indoors during the winter season.
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