When I think of winter, I think of snow. I’m not sure why, since the heaviest snowfall tends to come to the Hudson Valley in February, just as we’re becoming overly eager for spring. I can remember many a January when the sled or skates I got for Christmas collected dust. So far this year is staying true to form. Until this week, it hasn’t even been cold.
It makes good sport to complain about the snow when it comes, but it is actually very good for the garden. Besides the eventual melting, snow is a great insulator. It protects leaves from desiccating and holds the cold in the ground, so it is not subject to thawing and heaving.
Since that’s not the case this year, I will have to turn to winter mulching. My material of choice is my discarded Christmas tree. I chop off the branches and layer them over plants susceptible to heaving, like my Heuchera, and bulbs that I do not want sprouting prematurely, like my precious garlic. Now I wish I had gotten a larger tree, or run out and claimed a few of the leftovers before they were shredded. Oh well, there are always plenty of leaves to use as a substitute.
In this week’s podcast I talked about 5 ways to recycle your Christmas tree and this was #1. It makes sense in my garden, but not everyone is snowless at this time, so another option might suit you better.