Tag Archives: winter

FIGS, POMEGRANATES, LETTUCE, BEDS: ALL READY

 Beds Ready for Spring Planting, Figs and Lettuces Readied for Cold

Much colder weather has been sneaking in and out of the garden but leaving traces of its presence with some blackened leaves on frost-sensitive plants and threatening to brazenly show itself in full force sometime soon. This fall I vow to put all in order before that event rather than, on some very cold night, running around, flashlight in hand, gathering and protecting plants.

Before even getting to the plants, drip irrigation must be readied for winter. Main lines and drip lines can remain outdoors but right near the spigot, the timer, the filter, and pressure reducer must be brought indoors where they won’t freeze. I plug the inlet for the drip’s main line to keep out curious insects. At the far end of the line is a cap that I loosen enough to let water drain out. Opening all other …

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Winter’s Legacy and Spring Forward

This winter’s cold is most evident on bamboo. Clumps of tawny, dead leaves, still attached to the canes, stare out from among the trunks and stems of dormant trees and shrubs. I hadn’t realized that bamboo was so widely planted. The depth of cold isn’t what killed the canes and leaves; it was the duration of cold. Seventy miles south of here, leaves of yellow groove bamboo, Phyllostachys aureosulcata, among the most cold hardy of the thick-caned bamboos, typically stay green and fresh all winter, but even they’ve been killed.

My bamboo, before pruning

No, the plants aren’t dead; just their canes and leaves. Warm weather will coax new shoots from the roots, shoots that will push skyward rapidly. I’ve measured as much as 6 inches of elongation per day. The record for bamboo growth, not around here, of course, is almost 3 feet in …

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Brrrr, Good Thing It’s Cold.

The sound and feel of crunchy snow underfoot are reminiscent of cold, snowy winters past. Pity poor trees and shrubs; they can’t stomp their limbs or do jumping jacks to get their sap moving and warm up. The sap has no warmth anyway. Still, except for garden and landscape plants pushed to their cold limits, plants do survive bitter cold.

Peonies, delphiniums, and other herbaceous perennials opt for the easiest survival route, letting their tops die off each winter. Anticipating frigid weather way back in late summer, they pumped nutrients in their stems and leaves down to their roots. What’s left of these plants spend a mild winter underground, especially mild beneath a blanket of snow.

Low growing plants whose stems and leaves stay alive in winter have it almost as good as those survived only by their roots. Near the ground, these plants aren’t exposed to the full brunt …

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