Dress your garden for winter. Whether you're giving it an eye-catching or practical touch, the results will be a healthier garden and pretty winter scenery.
Fill a frost-proof pot with stems of evergreens, rose canes with hips, or berried shrub branches. Tuck in pinecones, ornamental grass stems, and interesting perennial flower heads to finish the arrangement. If soil is frozen, pour on hot water to thaw.
Try one of two options to prep your vegetable garden for winter -- and for planting next spring.
1. Turn soil in the vegetable garden with a hoe or tiller. Time the turning for just before a hard freeze to expose overwintering insects to killing temperatures. You can also use this as a chance to work a 2- to 3-inch layer of chopped leaves into soil. Leave the soil rough, with clumps in place. Winter freezing and thawing will break them down.
2. Plant a cover crop. First, work 2-3 inches of manure, chopped leaves, or compost into soil. Sow seeds of winter rye, hairy vetch, or white Dutch clover. In spring, turn the cover crop under before planting.
Test Garden Tip: Indoors, think color. Tuck a few bulbs into pots for forcing. Place pots where they'll receive 14-16 weeks of chill (41-48 degrees F), and you'll savor February blooms.
Continued on page 2: Winter Wildlife