Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An "Open Winter" Check of Perennials

Hello again,

Folks what an open winter indeed we have seen in Skillin's Country! With so much more fallen snow to the south of us this winter has been a head scratcher indeed!

Good friend Hammon Buck of Plants Unlimited sends out some very nice gardening information and this recent post came to my attention and I thought I would pass it on to you. This is extremely topical and VERY good advice for us gardeners in Skillin's Country. Plants Unlimited is a terrific garden center based in Rockport Maine. Hammon and I talk quite often and I always learn something about gardening and garden center business when we do speak. I hope he benefits some as well. Plants Unlimited is always worth a visit and they can be found at and also at 629 Commercial Street (Route 1) in Rockport ME.

Here is the post:

"Outdoors, check your perennial plants. An "open winter," like this one demonstrates the need for protective mulch on strawberries and many perennial flowers as well as garlic, over-wintered spinach, and other crops that can easily be damaged by alternate warming and freezing of the soil. Although it is too late to undo any damage that's done, mulching now can prevent additional damage caused by spring fluctuations in soil temperatures.

Perennials, especially those newly planted last season, will sometimes "heave" out of the ground with an open winter (and the alternate warming and freezing of the soil that comes with an open winter. If you can't "step" or get the plant back into the ground, mulch it heavily and do so as soon as the frost leaves the ground. (and folks the frost is leaving the ground in sunny exposed areas of Skillin's Country!)

So far, we are not expecting too much plant damage with our lack of snowfall because temperatures have been fairly mild without giant fluctuations. Let's hope we don't have a "big chill"!" (that would cause the ground to "seize up" the root system!)

As I said to my good friend Joe one warm day: "Joe days like this as lovely as it is--this is why we mulch!" (To keep the ground frozen!)

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
February 24, 2010

No comments: