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December

Flowers & Ornamental Grasses

Flowers & Ornamental Grasses

  • Make a wish list of materials needed for starting seeds indoors.  Consider giving the same type of gift or a gardening gift certificate to gardeners on your list.
  • Give a gift from your garden. Include a picture, small packet of seeds or pressed flowers in your greeting card.
  • Check container plants stored in an unheated garage for winter. Water thoroughly whenever the soil is thawed and dry.
  • Shred fall leaves with your mower and mulch the soil. The leaves will help protect the soil from erosion, suppress weeds and improve the soil as they break down.
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs suited to your region when the night temperatures are consistently between 40 and 50 degrees and until the ground freezes. Those in the far south need to select bulbs that require minimal chilling or purchase precooled bulbs.
  • Plant freesias outdoors if gardening in zones 9 and 10.
  • Those gardening in areas with mild winters can plant pansies, pinks, snapdragons and sweet Williams for winter color. Water thoroughly as needed.
  • Continue to water new plantings as needed. Those in colder climates can stop once the ground freezes, then drain and store their garden hoses for winter. 
  • Leave healthy disease- and insect-free perennials stand for winter to increase their hardiness and vigor and provide food for birds and winter homes for beneficial insects.
  • Leave the stems intact, plant bulbs near or place markers by butterfly weed, balloon flower and other late emerging perennials to prevent accidental damage in the spring.
  • Continue fall clean up. Ridding the landscape of diseased leaves, fruit and annual plants is the first step in pest control.
  • Mulch late planted and borderline hardy perennials and bulbs after the ground freezes with evergreen boughs or straw for added insulation.
  • Gather and save leftover seeds for next year’s garden. Leave them in their original packets, place in an airtight container and store in a consistently cool place like the refrigerator.
  • Those in cold climates need to empty and store annual, glazed and terra cotta containers for winter. Clean pots now and you’ll save time during the busy planting season next spring.
  • Monitor and secure fencing and animal barriers or reapply repellents as needed throughout the winter.
  • Reduce deicing salt damage by shoveling before applying plant friendly deicing material. You’ll use less product and eliminate salt-laden snow from ending up on your garden beds.
  • Collect, store, and clean garden tools. Organize now for a seamless start to next season.
  • Gather, inventory, and store fertilizers and pesticides in a secure location away from pets and children.  Keep liquids out of direct sun and in a frost-free location.  Move granules to a secure, dry space for storage.

Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs

Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs

  • Inventory and create a list of materials needed for starting seeds indoors. These items make great gifts for you or the gardeners on your gift list.
  • Those in milder climates can plant winter crops of lettuce, spinach and other greens in the garden. Use a cold frame or row covers to protect them from cold winter temperatures if needed.
  • Mulch carrots, parsnips and turnips as temperatures drop.  Then harvest in winter for a tasty treat.
  • Continue fall clean up. Removing and disposing of diseased leaves, fruit and annual plants is the first step in next season’s pest control.
  • Cut fall bearing raspberries to the ground.  This eliminates the summer crop but encourages a larger and earlier fall harvest next year.
  • Gather and save leftover seeds for next year’s garden. Place in an airtight container and store in a consistently cool place like the refrigerator.
  • Take a soil test if the ground is not frozen and has not been recently fertilized. You will have some necessary and valuable information for next year’s gardening season.
  • Gather, inventory and store fertilizer and pesticides in a secure location away from pets and children.  Keep liquids out of direct sun and in a frost-free location.  Move granules to a secure, dry space for storage.

Groundcovers & Vines

Groundcovers & Vines

Indoor & Holiday Plants

Indoor & Holiday Plants

  • Extend the edible garden season by growing an indoor herb or vegetable garden of leafy greens and root crops like radishes.
  • Save a few or purchase some spring flowering bulbs for forcing this winter. Plant the bulbs and store in a cool 35- to 45-degree location for 15 weeks to initiate flowering.
  • Purchase lily-of-the-valley pips (underground shoots) from garden centers, catalogues or online sources to plant and force indoors for fragrant blooms.
  • Force fragrant freesia bulbs into bloom. Plant several bulbs in a 6” pot and place in a cool, 55-degree location, for 45 days.
  • Spruce up your houseplants for the holidays. Add colorful ribbons, ornaments, berry-laden branches or sink cut flowers stuck in a florist’s water tube into the soil.
  • Move indoor plants to sunnier locations as the days shorten and sunlight decreases.
  • Adjust watering schedules for your indoor plants to match any changes in the indoor growing conditions. This includes tropical and annual plants moved indoors for winter.
  • Wrap holiday plants in paper or plastic sleeves to protect them from cold temperatures when transporting them from the garden center or florist to their final destination. 
  • Grow or give a Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) to be enjoyed indoors during the holidays, then outdoors in the garden, once the growing season begins.
  • Extend the beauty of poinsettias, cyclamen, kalanchoes and other holiday plants with proper care.
  • Purchase and plant amaryllis, paperwhites, and pre-cooled hyacinths for holiday gifts and decorations.
  • Monitor and manage whiteflies, aphids, mites and any other insects that may have moved indoors on your plants. 
  • Fungus gnats, small fruit fly-like insects, are annoying but seldom harm our plants. Use an organic product like Mosquito Bits® with Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis if control is desired.
  • Check houseplants for salt buildup. Scrape off the crusty salt buildup on the soil then leach the soil by watering thoroughly several times at 20-minute intervals.
  • Check for freshness when purchasing a holiday tree. Run your hand along the stem. The needles should be pliable yet firmly attached to the branch.
  • Extend the life of your fresh Christmas tree and maximize your enjoyment with proper care.
  • Considering a living Christmas tree this holiday?  Plan ahead to ensure a successful transition into your landscape.

Lawns

Lawns

Trees, Shrubs & Roses

Trees, Shrubs & Roses

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February 14 & 15 , 2020
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West Allis, WI


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