Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Carol OMeara
Colorado State University Extension Boulder County 

Twelve Days of Christmas for gardeners

Series: Carol OMeara | Story 5

December 25, 2019

Courtesy photo

Birds like these rely on human feeding in the winter.

To celebrate the season, sing along with me (with apologies to the original version of the carol). In the final days of Christmas, the garden calls to me:

Twelve seeds-a-sprouting – In late winter, change up your garden by starting your own seeds. You'll expand your varieties beyond the choices everyone is offered and have a garden custom fitted to your taste or pleasure.

Eleven pipes- a-bursting – If you don't get your backflow preventers wrapped before the arctic blast in November, take time to do so now. Burst pipes are common in January freezes, so swaddle the backflow device with R13 building insulation or towels, three to four inches thick, wrapping the pipe all the way to the ground. Cover it all with plastic, then secure it with duct tape.

Ten deer-a-leaping – Deep in winter when food is scarce, deer, elk, or moose can wreak havoc on thin barked trees and nibble shrubs to shreds. Protect the plants with fencing rings to keep the animals away.

Nine new varieties – Peruse garden catalogs for ideas on new varieties to try, such as Blue Prince pumpkins or Early Resilience tomato. New introductions from around the globe means greater choices to add a thrill to your garden.

Eight mounds for mulching – Make sure your roses and perennials are snuggled in, with a four-inch layer of mulch. This prevents the ground from cycling between freeze and thaw, plus it helps retain moisture in the summer. Mulch around sapling trees and shrubs, too, being careful to keep the mulch about two inches away from the trunk so rodents, insects, and disease organisms can't tuck themselves up against the bark.

Seven squirrels-a-digging – Cover places where bulbs are planted with chicken wire to prevent the pesky critters from digging up your hyacinths, tulips and crocus.

Six geese-a-laying – Geese also waddle, stomp, and chase people away from public areas and golf courses, all the while leaving loads of excrement as calling cards. Give them a wide berth if walking past; they are aggressive in defending against threats.

Steven J. Everts © 123RF.com

Geese also waddle, stomp, and chase people away from public areas and golf courses, all the while leaving loads of excrement as calling cards.

Five fruitful months –With a short growing season – 150 days – choose your fruit trees wisely. Look for varieties with long chilling requirements so they flower after most of our frost has passed, but mature and ripen early enough that the fruit is ready before fall.

Four dry weeks - Give trees and shrubs a big drink every month if we don't get rain or snow. This helps prevent winter desiccation of branches, needles, or evergreen leaves, and promotes good woody plant health. Be sure to disconnect the hose from the faucet once you've finished watering.

Three French drains – Lay plans to redirect rainwater across your landscape to keep the foundation of your home dry while watering your plants.

Two mourning doves – Plus finches, chickadees, juncos, and other birds relying on your kindness for feeding them in winter.

And a gift card to our favorite store.


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