Late fall and early winter are the times to finalize preparation
of your grounds for winter. Trees, shrubs, perennial plants and
grasses will be going into dormancy for the next several months.
Annuals will be dying back. It’s the time to clean the garden,
plant bulbs (or dig up cold-sensitive bulbs for storage), and dig
out those seed catalogs so you can start thinking about what you
want to grow next season!
Dead or dying potted plants or annuals can be chopped up (if not
diseased) and composted. Sensitive perennials should be mulched
to protect them from winter’s cold. The mulch will not only
protect plants, it will slowly break down over the winter to provide
nutrients and organic matter next spring. Dead branches and foliage
should also be removed, but avoid serious pruning of live material
at this time of year. Leaves should be raked up and can be added
to compost. Leaves have a very high carbon content and should ideally
be mixed with a nitrogen contributor, such as manure, to provide
microbes with the proper mix of nutrients so that the composting
process will progress properly. It is not ideal to use whole leaves
alone as a mulch, as they can compact and smother the very plants
you are trying to protect.
Late fall is a good time to provide one last application of Bradfield
Organics® natural fertilizer to your lawn or pasture (known as “dormant-feeding”).
The organic nutrients will stay in the soil and be ready for use
as grasses begin to emerge in the spring. In fact, soil testing
now will give you the opportunity to spend the winter applying
the correct products needed to optimize your soil conditions so
that spring growth and health can be maximized. Unlike synthetic
fertilizers, Bradfield will not wash away or volatilize but will
be incorporated into the soil until needed. It is not recommended
to fertilize other garden or landscape plants at this time, as
you want them to go dormant in order to best resist the cold.
In more southern areas of the U.S. it is still not too late to
do some fall seeding of lawns or pastures, or to lay sod. If you
are still mowing, remember that decomposition rates slow with the
advent of cold weather, so it is best to remove the lawn clippings
the last time you mow so as not to build up smothering thatch that
will lie there, compacting, over the winter.
Be sure all plants and trees are well-watered going into winter,
especially if you have had a dry fall. Plants that have been subjected
to drought stress will have a more difficult time surviving the
challenges of winter.
Those of you fortunate enough to live in temperate areas where
winter gardening is possible will find good uses for Bradfield
Veggie fertilizer. Broccoli, cilantro, cabbage, peas, kale, brusselsprouts
and radish all grow well in winter. Many flowers such as pansies,
calendula and nemesia will also grow well in warmer winter climates
and can add much-needed patches of color to winter’s dark,
Once the holidays are over, it’s time to start thinking
about readying our lawns and gardens for the coming spring. Late
winter is a good time to aerate the lawn, providing oxygen to the
soil microbes so they will be optimally ready to utilize available
nutrients. Late winter is also an excellent time to apply Bradfield
Organics® Luscious Lawn & Garden™ 3-1-5; not only does it provide
slow-release nitrogen that will be there when the grass wakes up
and needs to
corn gluten meal will act as a pre-emergent to inhibit growth of
weeds.And finally, don’t forget to bring in hoses or drain
sprinkler systems! You don’t want any ugly surprises after
a hard freeze.
Happy holidays from Bradfield Organics®! Have a wonderful winter
season and watch for our return next spring with more tips on how
healthy, vibrant lawns, gardens and pastures!
Early Spring, 2007