Winter gardening, including outdoor guests

There’s not much to do in the garden in December. It’s a good month to take off, rest, rejuvenate, and think about how you want your garden to look, produce, and attract for spring.

If you planted rye or other cool season grasses, December is a good time to fertilize the grass. [1] Otherwise, the grass is probably dormant and doesn’t need to be fertilized. Dormant grass does not need watering. Natural rainfall is usually abundant. If you need specific watering standards, please visit Water My Yard. [2]

December or January is a good time to prune fruit trees. Now is also the perfect time to plant new trees and roses. This will give the roots enough time to establish themselves well before the heat of summer arrives.

One of my favorite pastimes is the birds and feeders (finches, cardinals, chickadee, etc.) that visit my garden. Even if you don’t see many breeds, it’s not hard to attract them, especially since December, January and February are the months when birds have the hardest time finding food. [3] By offering a few white millet or black sunflower seeds, you can attract quite a few varieties.

If you’re trying to attract goldfinches, you can get thistle seeds out. December and January can get cold, so you may want to prepare fresh water and other treats for your bird, such as suetcakes and unsalted peanuts, or dry him with pieces of fruit, peanut butter, and cornmeal. You can also create and install your own. (Note: Do not serve peanut butter without mixing it with flowers or cornmeal as it can be toxic or even fatal to birds.)

If you decide to put out stale bread, leftovers, or food scraps, you won’t attract songbirds. Also, you will have a hard time getting rid of these birds as they rarely leave once they are attracted. So be careful what you offer!

Attracting birds to your garden is not only a fun activity, but it can also be helpful if you want to plant and maintain an organic garden. According to Jesse Gunn Stevens, we should all have at least one all-serve bird feeder to encourage our birds to frequent our yard and perform their bug patrol duties. [4]

Believe it or not, there are butterflies even in winter. “Butterflies are attracted to purple, pink, yellow and white flowers. They visit red and orange flowers, but greenish-blue flowers seem to be the least attractive.” [5] They need food, so colorful pansies and red or pink dianthus bloom in abundance to keep them healthy and visiting. [6]

A winter garden full of berries, flowers, beautiful songbirds and a few butterflies is just what you need to inspire spring and summer garden research and planning.

1. Texas Master Gardener’s Handbook7th Edition 2019, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, Ed. Jayla Fry, Table 6-11

2. Aggie Horticulture,, Water My Yard (by location).

3. Bexar County, Texas Agrilife Extension.Birdwatching in the winter backyard

Four. What to do when in Texoma gardens and gardens, by Jesse Gunn Stevens. Copyright 2003 Newton Clinee Press, Sherman, TX. Second edition, 2013.

5. Elizabeth Wilkinson, Texas Master Naturalist, Class of 2018.Simple Butterfly Garden Plan

6. Contents of your Texoma Yard & Garden, by Jesse Gunn Stevens. Copyright 2003 Newton Clinee Press, Sherman, TX. Second edition, 2013.

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