U of M expert offers tips on getting gardens ready for frigid temps
Feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do before the snow flies? Searching for an excuse to enjoy the last few days outside without a parka? A University of Minnesota expert who can offer advice on preparing lawns and gardens for winter is:
Julie Weisenhorn, state director of the Extension Master Gardener program
"With our shorter growing season, we Minnesotans need to take advantage of every nice day in our gardens and home landscapes," says Weisenhorn.
Her recommendations for flowers and vegetables are:
Flowers: Division is a useful technique to help keep your perennial border healthy and neat. Cut or pull apart the root clumps, leaving two or three new shoots per segment. Plant the new divisions at the same depth as the old plant, water thoroughly and keep the soil moist for several weeks. Good fall candidates include Asiatic lily, bearded iris, daylily, Jacob's ladder, peony, tall phlox and Siberian iris.
Vegetables: Many cold-tolerant vegetables actually taste better when grown in cool weather, when the frost "sweetens" them. Beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, green onion, kale and peas can survive down to at least the high 20s. After harvesting, clean up plant debris and plant "green manure" (legumes, grasses and broadleaf plants) to keep away weeds, prevent soil erosion and add organic matter to the soil.
"In addition, fall is a great time to cut back and clean up dead plant debris, which can harbor harmful insects and diseases," Weisenhorn says.
To interview Weisenhorn, contact Preston Smith at (612) 625-0552 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Julie Christensen at (612) 626-4077 or email@example.com.
Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit umn.edu/news. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.