It’s another very mild day here on coastal British Columbia. But I spent a bit of last evening reading about snow predictions for the winter and I’m just peering about the yard, wondering what problems can be averted with a little attention now. One pattern I’ve seen too many years in a row is fences getting overgrown with matted blackberry or hops vines, then the snow piles up on that and pulls the fence down. It’s definitely a good time to get out there with the loppers and cut the bush back on each side of the fence – this will save lots of hours rebuilding in the spring. And while you’re walking the fence line, make sure your fence posts are perfectly perpendicular – if one is out of alignment, a good wind will pull more of them out kilter, and then a whole section will come down. Driving rocks of different sizes down into the post hole so the fence is upright and solid is a really worthwhile thing to do.
Scott and Hayley started off the process of putting all my potted nursery plants away for the winter. That helps a lot with cold stress. All potted plants are vulnerable to cold from all directions, while plants in the ground only suffer from cold from above. It’s a good idea to cluster your nursery plants under a tree, a work bench or picnic table so that only the outer ring suffer the effect of outside cold. You’re also preventing snow load problems – the constant dark, damp pressure that can rot crowns out of plants so easily. I do tuck plants into my greenhouse, but I’m careful now. I’ve forgotten about them, and have had them dehydrate to death before I rediscover them in spring. At least the outdoor plants have all that humidity! Tender plants like lemon verbena and passionflower do get brought into the greenhouse, and then I try like hell to remember them about the end of February, when they’ll need a good soak, but still need protection from outdoor freezing. Having a good stock of winter greens in there with them will assure I make more visits and tend to everyone’s needs.
Most garden beds have been put away for the winter, with layers of cardboard and then straw.
Tools. Still a few lying around and I can’t find my precious tree planting shovel! All my best attempts at good habits fail, because I hear an expected phone call or a car pulls up, and a tool gets dropped to the ground. I know they need bringing under cover, and to have soil washed off, perhaps a good oiling is in order as well.
And remember where your important tools are – that rake you might need to pull snow off vulnerable roof tops – where is it? Or the shovel to get into your crawl space for emergency equipment – nice to have these things hanging near at hand and not behind the farthest barn!
Now – all I have to do is take my own advice!