Include These Five Bird Feeders in Your Yard
Having multiple feeders in different places attracts the widest variety of birds to your yard. In an Audubon magazine article, author Stephen W. Kress recommends five bird feeders that every yard should have. These include a screen-bottomed tray sitting several inches off the ground for ground-feeding birds, a tube feeder filled with sunflower seeds, a suet feeder, a hopper feeder with mixed seed, and a thistle feeder. To read the rest of the article, visit: http://magazine.audubon.org/backyard/backyard0001.html.
Hang a Wreath Without Nails
Instead of driving a nail into a door or using one of the purchased over-the-door hangers, consider using a piece of 2- or 3-inch-wide ribbon attached to the top of the door. Cut a length of ribbon that, when folded in half, will hang the wreath at the desired height. Loop the ribbon around the wreath or through the wire on the back, join the ends, turn them under 1/2 inch, and secure to the top of the door with thumbtacks.
Finish Up Fruit Care
If you haven't already done so, clean up under fruit trees, removing fruit and leaves to reduce overwintering diseases and insects. Cut back the fruiting canes on raspberries and blackberries. Have the mulch ready for strawberries so that when the plants are fully dormant and temperatures consistently below freezing, 2 to 4 inches of straw, pine needles, or dry leaves can be applied. An alternative is to use a geotextile mulch.
As the leaves finally fall from the roses, rake up as many as possible and destroy in order to minimize black spot next year. Roses grown on their own roots or grafted roses with the graft union 1 to 2 inches below ground level usually overwinter well with only a mulch of dry leaves. For grafted roses with the bud union above ground, mound 12 inches of soil around the plant. After the soil freezes, add leaf mulch.
Saving Vegetable Seed
Before you order seed for 2005, take an inventory and make a list of seed leftover from 2004. To keep last year's seed as viable as possible for planting next year, store it at 40 to 50 degrees F. and 20 to 35 percent humidity. Use a sealed jar and include a packet of silica gel (like those that come in vitamin bottles) or a bit of powdered milk wrapped in wax paper to absorb any moisture. Some vegetables retain their germinating ability better than others, so don't rely totally on saved seed.