THROUGH THE SEASONS

WINTER at a GLANCE

For many home owners and aspiring gardeners, laying out a game plan for regular care and upkeep can feel like a daunting task. Knowing just when to plant, prune, fertilize, etc. also has a huge effect on the overhaul health, success and yield of your garden. So where to begin?! Here is a general Home and Garden Maintenance Guide to help you get oriented in the basic flow through each season.

Keeping a garden journal can be a great tool for helping organize a routine and plan ahead for various tasks. I’ve known some folks to take it to a whole other level and develop their garden journals into some truly amazing scrapbooks, complete with pressed flowers, family recipes, pictures, personal notes, poems and art, herbal folk remedy recipes, reference info, materials and “D.I.Y. article clippings, plant profile tags from the nursery, seed packets organized in their respective months and more! Or just print these articles to hang on your refrigerator for a ”to-do” checklist!

For more extensive lists of pruning, sow and harvesting dates, follow the links to my “Pruning Calendar” and “Vegetable Sow and Harvest Calendar”, in the above menu.

This guide was developed for the Pacific Northwest Hardiness Zones 7 – 9.

GOOD LUCK!!!

GENERAL MONTHLY TASKS for WINTER

DECEMBER

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

by Robert Frost

*FULL MOON: “YULE MOON”
*FLOWER: HOLLY & POINSETTIA
*TREE: BEECH TREE, FIG, HORNBEAM
*COLOR: WHITE, RED
*BIRTHSTONE: TURQUOISE & ZIRCON
*ANIMAL TOTEMS: OWL, SNOWGOOSE & HAWK, STAG
*ZODIAC SIGNS:
-SAGITTARIUS: (November 22 – December 21) PLANET: Jupiter
-CAPRICORN: (December 22 – January 19) PLANET: Saturn

HOME & GARDEN CHECKLIST:

  1.  Good time to plant ROSES, PERENNIALS, BIENNIALS, BERRIES and FRUIT TREES.
  2. Prune vulnerable branches of DECIDUOUS TREES and ROSES to protect from winter weather damage.
  3. Start planning for next seasons VEGETABLE GARDEN: prep beds, order seed packets, seed-start containers, etc.
  4. Continue to tend to and stir compost bins.
  5. Apply dormant sprays to FRUIT TREES & DECIDUOUS SHRUBS, avoiding contact with annuals. (see “D.I.Y. Dormant Spray Recipe” below.)
  6. Clean and service mowers, gardening tools and other equipment. *Before storing, be sure to empty out fuel from gas powered equipment.
  7. Sharpen, sanitize and lubricate pruning tools, ahead of the coming primetime pruning season (late January – early March).
  8. To prevent rust on pruners and other garden tools, store in a bucket, filled with sand with a little oil added (motor oil works fine).
  9. As the thermostat starts to go up, keep an eye on indoor plants and begin to adjust watering accordingly.
  10. Firewood ash can be saved for a SOIL AMENDMENT (to raise pH of acidic soil). Pine needles, to lower pH of alkaline soil.

*D.I.Y “DORMANT SPRAY” RECIPE:

  • 1 gallon of WATER
  • 2 Tbsp. VEGETABLE OIL
  • 2 Tbsp. BAKING SODA
  • 2 Tbsp. CASTILE SOAP

HOLIDAYS & OBSERVANCES

  • DECEMBER 5: World Soil Day
  • DECEMBER 11: International Mountain Day
  • DECEMBER 12: National Poinsettia Day
  • DECEMBER 21-22: Winter Solstice

JANUARY

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

~ John Steinbeck (from “Travels with Charley: In Search of America”)

FULL MOON: “Old Moon” & “Storm Moon”
FLOWER: Carnation & Snowdrop
TREE: Elm, Fir, Cypress, Birch
COLOR: White, Sky Blue
BIRTHSTONE: Garnet
ANIMAL TOTEMS: Snow Goose, Otter & Stag, Cat
ZODIAC SIGNS:
-CAPRICORN: (December 22 – January 19) PLANET: Saturn
-AQUARIUS: (January 20 – February 18) PLANET: Uranus

HOME & GARDEN CHECKLIST:

  1. Add 3-4 inch layer of mulch, straw (or other permeable organic matter) to protect roots of delicate and vulnerable plants from winter damage..
  2. Fertilize, rotate and mist INDOOR PLANTS. Begin to taper off fertilizing.
  3. Good time to PRUNE flowering dogwood, golden chain trees.
  4. Also time to PRUNE wisteria and grape vines.
  5. Inspect and clear gutters, downspouts and drains.
  6. Check basement walls and floors for leaks.
  7. When possible, minimize heavy traffic on Winter weather stressed lawns.
  8. Inspect yard for puddles, drainage issues, signs of water erosion.
  9. FRUIT TREES can be planted this month.
  10. Sow seeds (indoors) for early SPRING VEGETABLES & ANNUALS.
  11. Wrap up planting and/or transplanting of ROSES, this month.

HOLIDAYS & OBSERVANCES

  • JANUARY 1: New Year’s Day
  • JANUARY 6: Apple Tree Day
  • JANUARY 10: Houseplant Appreciation Day
  • JANUARY 21: Squirrel Appreciation Day
  • JANUARY (last Saturday): National Seed Swap Day

FEBRUARY

“Winter lingered so long in the lap of Spring that it occasioned a great deal of talk.”

~ Bill Nye

FULL MOON: “Hunger Moon” & “Snow Moon”
FLOWER: 
Violet & Primrose
TREE: 
Cedar, Pine, Poplar, Ash, Rowan
COLOR: 
Violet Purple
BIRTHSTONE: 
Amethyst
ANIMAL TOTEMS: 
Otter, Wolf & Cat, Snake
ZODIAC SIGNS:
-AQUARIUS: (January 20 – February 18) PLANET: Uranus
-PISCES: (February 19 – March 20) PLANET: Neptune

HOME & GARDEN CHECKLIST:

  1. Add a 3 -4 inch layer of COMPOST to trees and garden beds.
  2. Check your lawn for bare spots and “potholes” collecting water, and fill with MULCH.
  3. Best time to prune most DECIDUOUS TREES and SHRUBS, FRUIT TREES (apple, pear, cherry, peach, plum), FLOWERING TREES (ornamental plum, cherry blossom, crabapple), butterfly bush, witch-hazel, hydrangeas, hibiscus, viburnum, redbud, mimosa (silk tree), strawberry tree, willow, holly, smokebush, crape myrtle, nine-bark, burning bush, cotoneaster, barberry, abelia, photinia, fuchsia, hawthorn.
  4. Also good time to prune FLOWERING VINES jasmine, clematis.
  5. Add organic fertilizers to SHRUBS, EVERGREENS and ROSES.
  6. Good time to PLANT (or transplant) TREES, SHRUBS, PERENNIALS, etc.
  7. BERRIES (grapes, raspberry, blueberry, etc.) can be PLANTED this month.
  8. Sow INDOOR SEED STARTS for tomatoes, peas, onions, cabbage, etc., herbs, annuals.
  9. Tune up and service lawn mowers, line-trimmers, leaf blowers, pressure washers, etc.
  10. Control pests & disease on FRUIT TREES with Garlic Spray *(see recipe below).

*DIY “GARLIC SPRAY” RECIPE:

  • 2 oz. GARLIC INFUSED VEGETABLE OIL
  • 2 oz. LIQUID CASTILE SOAP
  • 1 PINT of WATER
  • Mix in a spray bottle and go!!

HOLIDAYS & OBSERVANCES

  • FEBRUARY 2: World Wetlands Day
  • FEBRUARY 2: Groundhog Day
  • FEBRUARY 3: Feed the Birds Day
  • FEBRUARY 14: Valentine’s Day

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