Fall Clean-up: Mulch and Protect

Fall is arguably Edmonton’s most beautiful season. No mosquitoes, lovely warm afternoons and calm evenings with spectacular sunsets. The foliage changes to shades of red, yellow and orange, and the air is crisp and fresh.

It’s also the time of year when we have to put down our spades and pick up our rakes, cleaning up the garden beds and protecting them for the upcoming cold winter months.

It can get as cold as -40C in Edmonton during the most frigid nights of winter, so having a good protective mulch over the hibernating plants is a must.

I take a simple approach, first slaying the perennial foliage with my clippers, then pulling all the annuals that won’t survive the winter. Once I’ve done that, I collect the leaves and mess on the lawn and run it down with a mower. I’ll do the same with the leaves from my trees as soon as they’ve come down, and sometimes I’ll borrow from neighbors if I feel I need even more browns.

The resulting mulch is returned to the garden to cover the plants with a 10-12″ airy quilt which will provide that extra layer of warmth they’ll need to get through the coming months.

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It’s a Wrap: Snowfall Marks the Official End of the 2010 Growing Season

I have had a great time blogging about my garden all summer, but it seems that it’s time to wrap things up for the year. I hope that I’ve touched a few readers with my stories and tips over the growing season.

Jack Frost made a brief appearance late last month (stopping my tomatoes in their tracks), but he kicked our butts this past Sunday evening when he left a blanket of snow and frozen water in the bird bath. There’s no use denying the inevitable: it’s fall and it’ll soon be winter.

So I thought I’d post a few last pictures from the yard, and wish my readers all the best until I start again in the spring with more stories from my zone 3 garden in beautiful (but frigid) Edmonton, Alberta.

Cheers!

– Gardeninggrrl

Making a Terrarium: Bringing the Outdoors In

In the fall it seems such a shame to lose all the lovely outdoor potted plants that can’t withstand a winter in zone 3.

Two Terraria

I am not an indoor gardener, but I like to save a few of my plants by bringing them indoors for the winter and attempting to keep them alive until I can place them outside again in the spring.

I’ve found that the best way of doing this is by making a low maintenance terrarium. Terrariums don’t need a great deal of attention, and that suits me fine.

I made two terraria this year. One vessel I found at Winners for four dollars and the other at a thrift store for two dollars.

To make a healthy terrarium, start with a layer of small rocks on the bottom, then add a layer of charcoal. The rocks act to hold moisture and the charcoal keeps that moisture from causing odors. You can buy the charcoal in the aquarium section of any pet store.

I dug up some moss from my yard for the next layer, then topped that with healthy sterile potting soil. The moss keeps the soil from mingling with the charcoal.

After rooting some of the ivy from one of my outdoor planters, I added it to the terrarium and it has been doing well with little or no personal attention for the past several weeks. Looks like it will need watering once or twice a month. That’s my kinda houseplant.