Western Mountains and High Plains
Dream With Gardening Catalogs
Now that the whirlwind of holiday activities has subsided, it's a good time to catch up on some of those delayed gardening tasks. Finish cleaning up the garden and start planning for the New Year. On snowy, cold days, thumb through seed and nursery catalogs and plan your spring garden. The 2008 All-America selections winners will be available in mail-order catalogs.
Move Live Christmas Tree Outdoors
If you decorated a living Christmas tree indoors, it's important to move the tree outdoors, but do so gradually. Place the tree in an unheated garage or porch to begin with, and then move to full sun after a week or two. Keep the rootball moist and don't plant outdoors until temperatures are above freezing. After planting, mulch the soil with a 4- to 6-inch layer of compost or shredded cedar mulch. Rinse the needles and thoroughly soak the soil. Don't forget to water throughout the winter, especially when the weather is dry and windy.
Armchair Shopping for Bare-Root Plants
This is a particularly good time to shop for bare-root roses, fruit trees, and other nursery stock via mail-order sources. You will often find varieties that are not available locally, and planting bare-root plants in early spring is one of the most economical ways to add new plants to your garden. Plants will develop a strong root system that will adapt to our native soils.
Provide Humidity for Houseplants
Winter in our region can be devastating for indoor plants that need extra humidity. When you turn on the forced-air furnace, it takes humidity out of the air. Raise the humidity with a pebble tray. It's easy to make by spreading a 1- to 2-inch layer of pebbles in a waterproof drainage saucer wider than the top of the pot. Pour water into the tray until the water is about 1 inch deep. Set your plant on the moistened pebbles. The water in the tray will evaporate slowly, humidifying the immediate area around the plant. Refill as needed.
Check Plants During Dry Weather
Landscape plants and lawns that are planted on slopes in south and west exposures may need water. Use the twin-eye or frog-eye sprinkler to give plants a good, deep drink of water. Set the sprinklers early in the day when temperatures are above 40 degrees. Let the water run for 20 to 30 minutes in each area, then move to achieve good overlap.