Despite the warm weather of the past few days, winter – such as it is in the Bay Area – is coming. Winter is the time when we tend not to think too much about our gardens (except, perhaps, to gaze at the greenery from the warmth and comfort of a window seat or kitchen table, cup of tea in hand), but for those of you intrepid enough to brave the elements, there are many garden tasks that are best performed in winter. Here are some ideas for November and December.
To start with, those floppy, overgrown perennials should be cut back and neatened up to optimize next season’s bloom. Now is also your last chance to plant bulbs for next spring’s bloom – be sure to add a little bone meal around each bulb to maximize root development. Tulips should be chilled in the fridge before planting.
Now is a great time to add plant residue – fallen leaves, cuttings, weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps – to your compost. Turn it as often as you can to speed up decomposition. You will need it when spring comes.
Pay special attention to weeds this time of year. With the rain, weeds can start to get out of control, so take advantage of sunny days and do a little weeding.
Sew wildflower seeds! Wildflowers look beautiful among the perennials, covering those empty corners of the garden, along the curb, almost anywhere.
Clean your garden tools, and sharpen clippers so they are ready for next year.
Plan your garden for next year. Make lists of new plants you would like to introduce. Take a trip to the nursery and browse. Pick out at least one plant you have never grown that would look great in your garden. Now is the time to dream… by next spring you will be too busy planting and weeding.