It’s the last call for lifting and protecting summer bulbs, says Brian Minter.

Winter’s coming; Is your yard ready?

Brian Minter offers a fall t0-do list to prepare for winter.

  • Oct. 28, 2017 7:30 a.m.

Winter Colour:

The recent rainfalls have taken their toll on many garden annuals and perennials. They make great compost, but removing them will leave your garden looking rather bare. Hardy winter colour, set out now, will add new life and provide much needed interest to your winterscape. Strategically planting winter colour in groups, contrasting blocks of bright colours, like yellow, with more pastel shades, creates the most vibrant effect. Centre groupings of pansies with the many unique colours of evergreen carex grasses and add colourful conifers, winter heathers and evergreen perennials, like euphorbias, for winter containers and plantings that come alive now and last through to April.

Fall Bulbs:

It is still the ideal time to plant your fall bulbs. Plant them in well-drained soil at a depth of three times the diameter of the bulb. Plant bulbs in groupings for the most ‘pop’. With proper planning, you can time your bulbs to bloom in sequence from January through June. I’m a big fan of botanical or species bulbs that naturalize easily and come back each year with an even more impressive display. Make sure you have at least a few giant alliums for a great summer show in June and July.

Lifting Bulbs:

It’s the last call for lifting and protecting summer bulbs. Gladiola corms and begonia tubers should have been lifted by now, and they must be kept warm at about 15°C (60°F). It is also time to lift dahlia and canna tubers. Make sure you dry them thoroughly then dust them with sulphur powder. Keep them from frost, and store them cool 5-10°C (40-50°F).

Vegetable Gardens:

Many late vegetables can stay in the garden for winter harvesting. These include turnips, parsnips, brussels sprouts, swiss chard and the new series of winter vegetables. If you do not have proper vegetable storage, you can place a thick mulch of bark over your root crops and leave them in the ground as long as possible. If we get some severe cold, cover your vegetables with N-Sulate cloth – it will make a 10°C temperature difference.

Compost:

Fall is a great time to add existing compost to your garden, and there is still time to plant Garden Rejuvenation Mix for invaluable green manure in the spring. Speaking of compost, make sure you take full advantage of all the leaves, old annuals and vegetable stems by composting them over the winter. You might also wish to add more fine fir or hemlock bark mulch or sawdust to your vegetable garden to improve the drainage next year. Applying lime is important now too, except of course where you are going to grow potatoes.

Lawns:

Cut your lawns quite low (1½-2 inches) one more time to allow more air circulation in and around the root systems. This can prevent many disease problems. To prevent moss from taking over your lawn, maintain a high level of nutrients by applying a controlled slow-release, high nitrogen fertilizer and by applying prilled lime at the rate of 10 kilograms per 2000 square feet to prevent acidic soil. It is too late to seed new lawns, but aerating and applying sand now to existing lawns would sure make a huge difference.

Trees and Shrubs:

Now is the best time to plant most evergreens, fruit trees and shade trees. They are becoming dormant and, once planted, they will immediately form new roots. By spring, they will have well-established root systems. Some points to remember:

The quality of the soil in which you plant your new trees will determine how well your trees grow. Work in plenty of fine bark mulch to open up our heavy clay soils and to improve drainage.

If your trees are in burlap sacks, you should leave the sack on the root ball – it’s holding all those roots together!

Bare root trees can be safely planted now. They will make new roots, getting them off to a great start come spring.

If you use a liquid starter, your trees will get a faster start. Evergreen hedges, planted now, will provide a good windbreak for cold winter winds, thereby helping to keep your fuel bill down a little. Hedges will also give you privacy and at the same time, beautify your home. So, all things considered, an evergreen hedge is an excellent investment.

Many fall-flowering trees and shrubs can be planted now to provide winter beauty. These include viburnum ‘Pink Dawn’, autumn-flowering cherries, Chinese witch hazel, ornamental grasses, jasmine and the many varieties of berried plants to name just a few. It is critical that you begin organic dormant spraying with ‘Green Earth Lime Sulphur’ and ‘Horticultural Oil’ in mid-November to control moss, algae, insects and diseases that overwinter on your trees.

We are now entering a brand-new season, and it is so nice to have our lawns and gardens in shape for the coolest and wettest time of the year. The addition of winter colour is a pure bonus – one you will appreciate more and more as winter progresses.

Just Posted

Jordyn Huitema and Canadian nationals second at 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship

The Chilliwack teenager was among the tournament’s scoring leaders with four goals.

Chilliwack vacant homeowners could be hit with speculation tax

Municipality included although Cultus Lake and Chilliwack River Valley excluded

Chilliwack soccer stars help Coastal FC win national title

The team beat Ontario’s Burlington Bayhawks in the U-17 Cup final.

Drugs and cash seized by Chilliwack RCMP

One man was arrested and drugs were seized in the early hours of Oct. 12, police said

Heavy turnout at advance poll in Chilliwack

Some voters waited as long as two hours

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Migrants, police mass in town on Guatemala-Mexico border

Many of the more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States left spontaneously with little more than the clothes on their backs and what they could quickly throw into backpacks.

5 to start your day

Man killed in shooting at Abbotsford bank, ex-Surrey cop to appear in court after Creep Catchers sting and more

Trump: ‘Severe’ consequences if Saudis murdered Khashoggi

Pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday said it had obtained audio recordings of the alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Feds dead set against ‘ridiculous’ quotas to replace steel, aluminum tariffs

Donald Trump imposed the so-called Section 232 tariffs — 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum — back in June on national security grounds.

Campus brawl leads to charge against B.C. football player

Takudzwa Timothy Brandon Gandire, a 21-year-old defensive back from Vancouver, is charged with assault causing bodily harm.

Stadium vendor seen in pizza spitting video pleads guilty

The 21-year-old’s sentencing is Nov. 15. His lawyer has said he understood what he did was wrong and was remorseful.

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

Jeromie and Jennifer Clark were found guilty of criminal negligence causing death

Fed report to show $19-billion deficit in 2017-18

The deficit is slightly smaller than Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s prediction of $19.4 billion in last winter’s budget

Most Read