Neighbor shares garden winterizing tips

By: KELSEY CARROLL

neighborhoods@columbiamissourian.com

Winter is starting to creep in, and people are slowly disappearing into bundles of scarves and hats. Once-fruitful gardens are turning into frozen plots. Just as people protect their bodies with heavy coats, plants should be sheltered from the frigid temperatures too, ensuring rebirth in the spring.

Winterizing may sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t involve fancy products and procedures. A little makeshift ingenuity mixed with some common practices can ensure healthy plants that will be ready for spring weather. Even planting new flora in the winter can be done, if done right.

“You just need a little extra love and protection,” Dorothy Grimes, 85, said.

Grimes is an avid gardener and has one of the biggest gardens in Woodridge, easily visible when walking down Cedar Lane. She said she gardens by trial and error, learning from mistakes and coming up with new techniques every year.

“I’m just creative with what I do, and it seems to work,” Grimes said.

Grimes was gracious enough to share some of her secrets of the trade:

  • Spread peat moss over the area to ensure nutrients and moisture are retained during the severe winter temperatures.
  • Pay special attention to protecting young plants and roses by cutting them back and covering them with mulch/peat moss.
  • If starting a plant close to winter, cut it down and water it and place a glass or plastic jar over it (i.e. a mayonnaise jar, etc.) – make sure the jar is clear so that it allows sunlight to come in; the jar will act like a greenhouse as it lets in sunlight and holds in moisture.
  • For foundation plants such as shrubbery and bushes, be sure to water them at least once a month to prevent freeze drying.
  • To protect vegetation from deer and moles, try to plant deer-resistant foliage such as holly (plants often have a tag that indicates whether it’s deer-resistant, or ask the florist if you’re unsure) or spray plants with protective chemicals

For more information about how to winterize a garden, check out this step-by-step article.

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