Tucking In For A Long Winter’s Nap

My poor flower beds are tired and haggard. Months of burning sun, beating wind and now dripping cold have transformed my cheerful, vibrant friends into shivering, huddling masses. Since our first freeze happened this week, it’s time to tuck everybody in for a long winter’s nap.

First we brought in the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (sometimes called Snake Plant) and move the potted geraniums to a well-protected, easily covered corner. After the freeze, it’s time to cut most of the perennials –not the ornamental grasses or those with woody trunks; those I leave as is- back to about 3 inches above ground and mulch. Experts say to bring in my canna bulbs, but I’ve been leaving those puppies outside in the cold for years with no problems.

winter cannasI’ve been thinking about using cotton burrs as mulch this year. You should –and I try to- water the flower beds all winter and I’ve heard burrs hold the water and heat well. Any comments? Surely it’ll be better than leaving dead leaves and blown-in trash as the only mulch.

I want to put in a new spring bulb bed in the nook formed by our pine, Golden Rain and Red Oak trees. I’ve read I should dig the bed now and cover the area with mulch to discourage spring grass/weed growth. We’ll see how much energy I have myself or can con out of my children before it gets too, too cold.

Last, we’ll leave mowing the lawn as late as possible, mowing after the first frost, but not leaving long patches that can leave yellow spots.

What are you putting to bed this winter?


4 thoughts on “Tucking In For A Long Winter’s Nap

  1. I’m still trying to decide. I’m not worried about flowers…don’t have many anyways. I’m ready to let the basil go…and surprized that last weeks dips into the 40’s didn’t already ruin them. Just went out and harvested a bunch of cherry tomatoes. Should I try to cover up the tomatoes and peppers? I’m wondering if it’s worth the work again or should I just harvest what’s out there and let them go? They survived last night’s cold, but it will be colder tonight. The cilantro and chives will be fine. The broccoli and cauliflower? It’s my first year trying to grow those and I’m not sure. Decisions, decisions.

    • Texas AgriLife Extention says “… cold tolerance depends on preconditioning. For instance, if broccoli has been growing in warm conditions and temperatures drop below 22 degrees F., it will probably be killed. If these same broccoli plants had experienced cool weather, they would probably survive the sudden cold. In general, a frost (31-33 degrees F.) will kill beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peas, pepper, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, and watermelon. Colder temperatures (26-31 degrees F.) may burn foliage but will not kill broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, lettuce, mustard, onion, radish, and turnip. The real cold weather champs are beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, collards, kale, parsley, and spinach.” Good luck!

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