Tips for Managing the Winter Garden

As Rosemary Verey said, “A garden in winter is the absolute test of the true gardener”.  I’m sitting here watching the rain come down and feeling very guilty that I’m not outside in my rain gear.  So, I guess I’ll think about what needs to be done and make my “to-do” list.

Waiting for my Sarcococco to come into full bloom

Many of the winter jobs would prefer fair weather as opposed to mucking around in the mud and compacting the soil.  There are a few jobs, however, like cleaning and sharpening your tools, that don’t mind the weather.  Winter weeds are a continual problem in the Pacific Northwest, especially shotweed (Cardamine oligosperma), so keep control of these throughout the year.  These are easiest to pull after the frost heaves the soil a bit.

Some of the grasses are still looking good and won’t be pruned back until later when the weather gets to them and they start making a mess. Pruning some vines now, such as the grapes, is a good idea while you can see where they’ve grown to, or where you don’t want them to go.

Now, is a good time to clean up leaves and litter around the evergreen crowns of many plants, especially aster, chrysanthemum, solidago, melissa, monardo, Cardamine pratensis, Digitalis ferruginea, Lobelia x speciosa, Lobelia cardinalis, Primula ‘Wanda’, and Pulmonaria angustifolia.  Evergreen groundcovers, such as galax, saxifraga, ajuga, bolax, lamium, thyme,Mentha requienii, and Oxalis mabellanica, should also be kept clean of litter and leaves .

Mulching is one of the most important jobs we do in the garden.  Winter is the ideal time for this project after the deciduous plants have died back and the gardens have been cleaned of leaves and debris.

Before we know it, spring will be here and time to start planting again.

Our First Work Party!

Entrance Bed scraped of soil with Magnolia rootball exposed

Entrance Bed scraped of soil

Thursday Dec 22 2011, 10am

Please join us at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St. Seattle, WA 98105 Map on Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 10 am for the first work party of our new public garden.  The diggers have been hard at work removing the horse-tail infested soil, and the new soil, EnviroMix from Pacific Topsoils will be delivered this week.  Come help us spread it out and get ready for planting.  Please bring work clothes and tools for spreading soil, if you have them.  We’ll bring some wheelbarrows.

Announcing our New Public Garden

UWBG CUH LogoWe Bob signing the agreementare so excited to share with you that we have signed a memo of understanding with the Center for Urban Horticulture to establish our first Public Garden on the grounds at CUH.  We will be renovating the beds around the entrance to the north parking lot, and those surrounding the grassy area to the north, adjacent to the Seattle Youth Garden Works Farm. Our first tasks involve deconstructing an existing structure and erecting a new garden shed, renovating the entrance beds with new dirt and adding bulbs, and developing a long term plan for the beds.

We look forward to sharing more news with you in the coming weeks, and hope you can help us at our work parties.  As always, you are welcome to attend our monthly meetings to hear about our progress, and join the Public Garden Committee.

JULY – Summer Picnic – TBD

Summer picnic at location and time to be determined

NOVEMBER – Kathryn Wadsworth and David Deardorff – What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?

Kathryn Wadsworth and David Deardorff

What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?

Monday, November 19th 7pm-9pm

NHS Hall Section A, Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St. Seattle, WA 98105 Map

Kathryn Wadsworth

David Deardorf

More and more home gardeners are discovering the rewards of growing their own vegetables. But along with the pleasures of homegrown produce come a host of problems: bugs, diseases, and mysterious ailments that don’t have an obvious cause. What’s a gardener to do?

Don’t panic — help is at hand. What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden? teaches you how to keep your vegetables healthy so they’re less susceptible to attack, and when problems do occur, it shows you how to recognize the problem and find the right organic solution.

Among the book’s highlights are:

  • Clear information about how to team with nature to create the best growing conditions for your vegetables.
  • Detailed portraits of the most commonly grown vegetables, including growth habit; information on the plant’s season; temperature, soil, light, and water requirements; and best garden uses and planting techniques.
  • Illustrated problem-solving guides that enable you to identify at a glance what’s ailing your plant.
  • Discussions of the most effective organic solutions, ranging from how to modify the growing conditions in your garden to how to cope with and eliminate specific pests and diseases.

If you care about raising the freshest, healthiest, most problem-free vegetables possible, then What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden? will quickly become one of your most essential tools.