Growing a garden in winter

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Posted by: from Toronto
10/20/2015 at 1:15:33 AM

I have a backyard garden in my home at Toronto and now since is winter is here I would like to know how I can save it from the winter fury. Any tips or tricks?

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Date/Time10/20/2015 at 5:08:24 PM

Hi Anthony,

When you're preparing your garden for winter, do not remove the dying plants, but mix them into the soil. Rake and mulch your tree leaves onto the garden as well. Then cover it all with manure. Let this cook over the winter and come spring, rototill the garden, making it ready for the new plants. If your garden still lacks nutrients, add triple mix or something similar when you till it. You want a nice loose loam so your plants can get plenty of oxygen. Also, don't leave any leaves on your grass over the winter.

Hope this helps.

Mike Duhacek

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Date/Time10/28/2015 at 5:06:50 PM


I am not a landscape expert by any means but here at Greylu we love helping others. This is what I found on the web for highly recommended advice from the people at HGTV;

-Check Your Trees for Dead Limbs or Signs of Weakness

If you are in doubt about the health of your trees call an arborist to come and inspect them. An arborist can help determine if any trees or branches have insect damage or are suffering from dieback, a condition where the branch begins to die from the tip back to the base. Dieback is characterized by the death of the young shoots, which spreads to the larger branches. Removing dead, damaged or diseased branches before the next storm is one way to avoid potential damage to your yard and shrubs.

-Prune Your Trees Properly

The ideal time for pruning varies with the type of tree in question but it is generally agreed that winter is a good time to prune deciduous trees. The leaves are gone and you can easily inspect the branches and tree structure for any signs of weakness. For evergreen trees and shrubs, you should wait until after the last winter freeze before pruning. Some trees fare worse than others in a snow storm, Kane notes, due to "what they call the crotch angle of the tree. On certain trees, such as pears, if the angle of the branch off the trunk is too tight, the branch will have a weak connection and can easily break under the weight of heavy snow or ice. On some evergreens, if it's too horizontal to the ground or sticking out too far, it's usually catching more ice and snow and has a good chance of snapping off." You also want to refrain from pruning trees while the ground is frozen; it will cause the tree to lose a lot of water and moisture.

-Avoid Topping Any Trees

Although tree topping has been a widespread practice for years, most trained landscapers and arborists understand that it creates additional problems for the tree instead of correcting them. Topping your trees can upset the balance between the crown and the roots and result in a sick, undernourished tree. Topping also disfigures the tree's natural form and beauty while exposing the bark to full sun which can led to sun scald and the development of disease cankers. More importantly, the new growth that develops after the tree has been topped is weak due to the new sprouts growing from the surface of stubs instead of being anchored from within former limbs. These new branches, created by topping, are more vulnerable to heavy snow falls and winter winds and prone to breakage.

-Keep Plants Well-Hydrated

Even in the wintertime, evergreen plants continue to lose moisture through their leaves so they need water. If plants are well-hydrated, they are more likely to survive a hard freeze. "If it's a new tree you still want to water it a little if you're not getting much rain," Kane advises. "Most newly planted trees can go about two weeks without rain in the wintertime." If your outside hose is turned off, a bucket of water (5 gallons or more) applied manually can help prevent that new tree from drying out. You can also use a proven anti-transpirant like Wilt Pruf to guard your plants against moisture loss caused by transplant shock, drought and windburn. You simply spray it on the top and bottom of the leaves and it creates a wax-like protective layer.

-Protect Your Fragile Plants from Freezing

Cold winter winds can sap the moisture out of leaf tips so you need to protect them. Kane suggests you "put up a wind screen by taking a piece of burlap and two stakes and making a sort of wind block that's catching the wind before the row of bushes." If you feel the plants need more protection, you can put up a makeshift teepee around them that is made out of bamboo stakes and burlap. Before a hard freeze, you can also wrap plants in burlap. Because this material is woven and allows air to pass in and out, there is less danger of creating a heat moisture trap like you would if you tried to wrap your plants in plastic (never do that!). As soon as the cold spell is over, remove the burlap to prevent the plants from overheating.

- See more at:

Kindest Regards,

Don Engler

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