Winter Gardenkeeping

Lest you think there’s nothing left to do, our gardening tips for November in Northern Utah may change your mind. You’ve already spread your mulch, done your pruning and planted your bulbs. Now it’s time to take care of those minor “gardenkeeping” tasks that will make your life easier come spring, and to handle a few last-minute jobs before Old Man Winter drops his icy hammer.

Clean Up for the Best Spring Green-Up

Weeds are easier to pull during cold months. You can save yourself time and heartache come springtime if you get rid of them now. Empty any outdoor pots or containers and sterilize them with a bleach-and-water mixture to kill residual mold or bacteria that may be lurking. Clean and store any garden tools that are still out and drain and store garden hoses. Remove any remaining fruit and fallen leaves from fruit trees as well as from the ground, taking care to dispose of these rather than adding them to a compost or brush pile. Shield or cover delicate plants now, or prepare coverings for use later. Mark each covering so you can easily identify its location when the time comes.

Give Some Love to Your Soil

Experts recommend having a soil test done each year in the late fall to detect problems and predict appropriate fertilizer requirements. Based on the outcome, you can apply and incorporate fertilizer now. For accurate soil testing, you will need between five and 10 core samples, which will be combined for an aggregate test. Take cores from a 6-inch depth for turf areas and a 12-inch depth for planting zones. Your local county extension agent or university extension likely offers soil testing and may even loan you the proper core-sampling tool. Utah State University’s analytical lab offers sample kits with instructions and a mailer for sending your samples in. Once the sample is processed, you will be provided with nutrient recommendations and other resources for correcting any diagnosed problems. Cost for a comprehensive soil test is approximately $40.

Winterize Your Garden for Wildlife

During the cold months, local wildlife may struggle to find food, water and shelter. You can make your yard and garden a winter haven for all kinds of critters with minimal effort. Let native plants to go to seed and refrain from cutting them down, allowing birds to enjoy the seeds. Place bird feeders stocked with nutritious suet and sunflower seeds in protected areas, away from wind and predators. Gather leaves, sticks and brush from around your yard and create a pile, providing shelter for small animals, birds and even butterflies. Birds need a reliable water source in the winter, both for drinking and bathing. Heated birdbaths, available today with solar power, are a great item to help your feathered friends get through the winter.

In the Salt Lake City area, Millcreek Gardens has all of the plants, fertilizers, tools and equipment you need to keep your garden growing all year long. Ask their experienced professional staff for additional gardening tips for November and beyond.