Tips to Caring For Your Plants in the Winter Months
When it comes to winter, as it gets colder, we want to be careful. You want to feed the soil more than the plant this time of year. There are times of year when we do foliar feeding, but winter is not one of those times. Because the moisture sticks around and because of the cold air this time of year the cells on the outside of the leaves are not as active at soaking up the nutrients. Because of that it might cake on the leaf and even burn the leaf and create other problems just for the simple fact that it’s not soaking in any nutrients. It’s closed it’s stoma off and not allowing anything in. It’s trying to retain heat and sometimes moisture. So, we want to feed the soil not the plant.
Remember Mycorrhizae. It is symbiotic. It connects to the roots and extends the reach of your roots for both nutrients and moisture. When you can get mycorrhizae mixed with your soil, especially with your more woody type plants like strawberries, blueberries, other berries, and plants in the pine family such as pine nuts. You will want to get mycorrhizae mixed into your soil so that you can extend the root system for yourself.
Manure. When you are working with manure you want to look at it from an acre perspective. 20 tons of manure per acre and used every other year. How that equates to you and your yard, that’s about a pound per square foot. One pound of dry manure is different than wet manure. We are talking more about a dry manure for your yard. You want to mix that into the soil. You don’t want this to be fresh manure, ideally you want it to be well composted manure. You will work this into the soil every other year if you are going to do it at all. It does add a variety of nutrients. We like to add about an inch of compost that is well composted so that you don’t cause any rot during the winter months. However, when in doubt, don’t use manure.
Do not disturb. You don’t want to disturb the plants during this time of year. Right now you will want to cut out the plant rather than rip out the plant. They are much more sensitive to frost. If you are going to be pulling out some plants, don’t rip the whole thing out. Cut the plant out about an inch below the surface of the soil and then cover it back over with the compost as the top dressing. That will help to decay the plant and leave the root system there. The root system will create air channels as well as nutrients for what you are going to be planting next.
Crop rotation is important. From one season to the next you will want to keep this rotation in mind; Root, Fruit, Bean, Green. This will allow your soil to stay healthy and ready to continue growing through the seasons.
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