Gardening This Weekend: December 13, 2018

Let’s keep our list short. Everyone’s busy at this time of the year. Here are your prime gardening tasks for the next several days.

Cheery garden color to brighten your entry or patio. Plant pots of pansies, violas, cyclamen or pinks. You’ll need to protect them should temperatures drop into the 20s.
All spring-flowering bulbs as soon as you can. This includes tulips and Dutch hyacinths you’ve hopefully been chilling in the refrigerator (not the freezer) for at least 45 days.
Dig and transplant trees and shrubs that need to be moved as you have time. Don’t rush the job, though. Take care to hold the root balls together in the process.

Mistletoe from trees while the clumps are still young and small. Whenever you can, clip the supporting twigs off entirely. If it’s growing on larger branches, keep it nipped flush with the branch.
Stubble from annual and perennial gardens to tidy your landscape.
Mow lawn one last time to minimize weeds, also to remove final layer of fallen leaves. Put the clippings in the compost. Don’t send them to the landfill.

Houseplants with diluted, water-soluble, high-nitrogen plant food monthly.
Cool-season annuals with water-soluble, high-nitrogen plant food each time that you water them.
One cupful of high-nitrogen lawn food per cubic yard of compost every month or two over the winter. Use spading fork to turn the pile, exposing it to oxygen. Bacteria that cause the organic matter to decay will use the nitrogen to speed their work. Cover it with sheet of black plastic film to soak up warmth of the sun’s rays.

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Houseplants for scale insects, mealybugs, whiteflies, spider mites and other pests that show up while they are indoors, away from natural predators.
Cold spells. Have frost cloth cut, labeled and ready to put in place over vulnerable plants.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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