Common wisdom holds that most gardening should happen during spring, but there are a couple of things that you can do, even in the middle of winter, to encourage new growth and prepare your garden for the coming warmer spring months.
Paige Moody, owner of Arbor Enterprise in Pittsboro, NC, dispels the myth that there is nothing that can be done in the garden during winter. In addition to any hardscaping projects that you might have paused during the warmer months, there are also some essential gardening tasks that should be tackled during the winter months. Moody commented on this saying, “Often clients say to me that their gardens are taking a break during winter, and I always take this opportunity to explain the importance of pruning during winter, as well as planting the right vegetables during the colder months.”
To keep your garden healthy, Moody recommends that pruning must happen at the right time. It is better to trim trees and shrubs in late winter, rather than waiting for spring. Limbs that are wounded can become infected over the winter leading to the disease becoming established while the plant remains dormant. By pruning in late winter, it is possible to prevent the disease from spreading and affecting new growth.
Late winter storms may impact your decision as they can cause new damage, but it is still recommended to trim back a broken limb rather than ignoring it until spring. As is always the case, sharp tools that are able make clean cuts should be used as these cuts will heal more quickly and remember to always cut back to healthy, living tissue for best results.
If you have a vegetable garden, there are a number of vegetables that can be planted even if the rest of your garden is dormant. Arbor’s top six recommendations are:
- Garlic - set out bulbs 4 inches apart, don’t water them until shoots begin to poke out of the ground if they are not already receiving rain water. Garlic plants require very little room or maintenance.
- Leeks – these are an inexpensive vegetable to purchase and can be harvested throughout the year.
- Onions – the best time to plant onions (either seeds or bulbs) is in January and February. Bulbs are easier to grow successfully.
- Radishes – there are a number of different varieties to choose from, and they grow easily and quickly.
- Peas – November and February are the best months to plant peas, you will need to give them something to climb up and wrap their tendrils around.
- Potatoes – February is a good month to plant potatoes, and they will be ready to harvest around 3 months later.
Staying on top of pruning and planting tasks year-round can be a challenge but, by taking advantage of the quieter winter months, you can get a head start on growing the garden that you want. The two areas to focus on are planting winter vegetables and pruning trees and shrubs in preparation for spring.
Arbor Enterprises in Pittsboro, NC offers landscape design for both commercial and residential gardens in the Pittsboro area. They specialize in landscape renovation, irrigation installation, pond design and installation, patio designs, and tree trimming and removal. Other services that they offer include turf care (mowing, fertilization, weed control, soil testing, seeding, aerating, dethatching and sodding) and plant care (pruning, fertilization, weed and insect control, mulching, and transplanting).
Founded in 1991 by Paige Moody, Arbor Enterprises is as passionate about their work almost 30 years later as when they first began landscaping. Their staff of 28 members have necessary skills and experience to help you with your landscape design project. Trust them to help you design the garden of your dreams.