Healthy food and healthy community are key to diabetes prevention

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By Niki Cleary, Tulalip News 

Exercise, laughter and hugs, fresh air and a sense of accomplishment were some of the gifts about 50 community members gave themselves on Saturday, February 20.  The Healthy Gardening Gathering, hosted by the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic’s Diabetes Care and Prevention Program, was much bigger than a seminar on gardening and preparing healthy meals; it was a reminder that peer pressure can be a good thing. The effort, which involved preparing new garden beds for the Clinic gardens, more importantly provided a place to build fellowship and support for wholesome living.

Members of the WSU Master Gardeners program were onsite to offer their knowledge and enthusiasm about gardening. Many of the volunteers who joined in have worked with each other before, some have helped out at the Hibulb gardens, some are part of the Diabetes Prevention Program, others participate in the Wisdom Warriors program. Their common ground (pun intended) is a desire to live well and enjoy life.

 

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Toddlers, elders and all ages in between joined the fun. If you are interested in learning to garden, if you want to eat healthier and exercise more, or if you’re just looking for some fun people to hang out with email Veronica Leahy for more information vleahy@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

Coming up, the Diabetes Program has two field trips, one for a Padilla Bay nature walk on March 11, and one for a Heronswood nature walk and plant sale, April 2. Upcoming classes and education include Diabetes Day March 3, a set of Diabetes comprehensive classes March 9, 16, 23 and 30. Additional gardening opportunities will be available at the Clinic gardens April 16 and June 11, and at the Hibulb Gardens March 5 and 12.

 

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Eco-Friendly Mosquito Control


By Melinda Myers

Don’t let mosquitoes keep you from enjoying your garden and outdoor parties. Look for environmentally sound ways to manage these pests in your garden and landscape.

Start by eliminating standing water in the yard.  Buckets, old tires and clogged gutters and downspouts that hold water make the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. 

Drain water that collects in these as well as kids’ toys, tarps and pool covers. Store these items in the garage or turn them over to keep them from becoming a mosquito breeding ground. Even small containers hold enough water for hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes to breed.

Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week. Consider installing a small pump to keep water moving to prevent mosquito breeding. Or use an organic mosquito control like Mosquito Dunks and Bits (SummitResponsibleSolutions.com) in rain barrels and water features. The Mosquito Bits quickly knock down the mosquito larval population, while the Mosquito Dunks provide 30 days of control. They are both certified organic and safe for pets, fish, wildlife and children.

Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. These pests are less attracted to the lighter colors and can’t readily reach your skin through loose clothing. And be sure to cover as much of your skin as possible with long sleeves and pants.

Add a few birdhouses to the landscape to bring in the birds. You’ll enjoy their beauty and benefit from their diet of insects, including many garden pests and mosquitoes.

Keep the garden weeded.  Mosquitoes rest in shrubs, trees and weeds during the day. Removing weeds and managing neglected garden spaces will make your landscape less inviting to these pests.

Consider using a personal repellent to protect you against disease-carrying mosquitoes. For those looking to avoid DEET, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also approved products with the active ingredient picaridin (found in Skin so Soft products), IR3535, and the synthetic oil of lemon and eucalyptus. Avoid products that contain both sunscreen and insect repellents as you need to apply the sunscreen more often than the repellent.

Add a bit more protection while sitting or eating outdoors.  Use a fan to create a gentle breeze that keeps the weak flying mosquitoes away from you and your guests. Some gardeners even take a small fan into the garden, while weeding.

Then add a bit of ambience to your next party by lighting a few citronella candles for your evening events.  Citronella oil and the scented candles do have some mosquito repelling properties.  Scatter lots of candles throughout your entertainment space.  Position the candles within a few feet of your guests.  This can provide some short term relief from these pests for you and your guests.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone” DVD setand the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

 

Hibulb’s native gardening class a success

Working with nettles in the Hibulb’s gardening class. photo courtesy Virginia Jones, Hibulb Culture Center

Working with nettles in the Hibulb’s gardening class.
photo courtesy Virginia Jones, Hibulb Culture Center

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On Sunday, March 15, 2015 the Hibulb Rediscovery Program held a native gardening plant class to give Tulalip tribal members the opportunity to connect with their ancestral roots. This class was coordinated by Rediscovery Program staff members Inez Bill, Joy Lacy and Virginia Jones.

“We were very glad to see the large volume of interest. The class filled up very quickly,” says Virginia Jones. “We are thankful for the interest and wish we could offer it to more people. We are glad that people understand why we need to offer this class to our tribal members. We were anxious to see what kind of turn out we were going to have considering it was pouring down rain, but, despite the terrible weather, we were grateful to have a full class.

“The people got to hear advice about working with plants that has been picked up over the years from different teachers. The group went out and endured the rain. They learned how to harvest, clean, and process stinging nettles. They got to learn some of the uses for stinging nettles and what type of areas to look for them in. It was exciting to see. The class really came together and did the work. After the work was done they shared a light lunch.

“One of the important messages I hope everyone was able to take home is that it’s our responsibility to take care of these plants and the world they live in. It is just like fishing, hunting, clam digging, and berry picking. If we don’t protect their environments then there won’t be any places for us to harvest them from. If we overharvest, then there won’t be enough to sustain themselves. This is something that our people did for thousands of years. Now it is all being threatened by pollutants, new development areas, and people. I think a lot of the older generation can agree that the ‘woods’ just aren’t what they use to be. If we are going to go out and take these living things, then it is also our responsibility to protect them.

“Again, we thank everyone for their interest in the class. We are glad that there are so many people willing to reintroduce these plants back into their lives. These plants are able to provide their body and spirit with so much more than store bought foods.”

For more information about Hibulb Cultural Center events visit www.hibulbculturalcenter.org

Our Plants Are Our Medicine

 Hibulb’s Rediscovery Program offers new gardening class to connect Tulalip’s ancestors

 

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By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve’s Rediscovery Program is offering Tulalip tribal members an exciting new class to reconnect with their traditional culture. The class is part of a series of classes entitled ‘Native Plants and Medicinal Herbs’ that will be ongoing during the traditional harvesting season, early spring to late fall. The series of classes will focus on teaching tribal members how to collect, garden, harvest, and process native plants and herbs that are indigenous to the Tulalip region. The first of a full series of native plant gardening classes will take place Sunday, March 15, starting promptly at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m., at the Center’s facility classroom.

“Our plants are our medicine. They nourish our bodies and feed our spirit,” says Inez Bill, Rediscovery Coordinator. “We want to see our people gardening and harvesting the plants and herbs that our people have used historically. So we are starting this brand new series of classes that will help pass on the values and teachings of our ancestors. Hopefully, by taking the classes, our people will begin to use these plants at their homes and grow them in their gardens for their own use.”

Over the past four years, the Rediscovery Program has hosted its ‘Gardening Together as Families’ classes that emphasized teaching our tribal membership how to grow their own organic vegetable gardens. The Rediscovery Program staff think that the time is right to shift from a general theme of organic vegetables to one that specifically tailors to the traditional gardening customs of our Tulalip ancestors. By reintroducing the Tulalip people to native plants and herbs that were once used by our ancestors for generations.

“We’ve been doing the ‘Gardening Together as Families’ classes for four years now. That was an opportunity for people to come get hands-on experience growing their own organic vegetables. Now, we are able to shift the theme of our gardening classes to accommodate the needs of our people,” explains Rediscovery staff member Virginia Jones. “We want to give the people an opportunity to learn about the uses of Tulalip native plants and to grow them at their own homes.”

Throughout this new series of native plant gardening classes, there will be a primary focus of working with and getting familiar with the many uses of five major native plants; the stinging nettle, fireweed, giant horsetail, the Nootka Rose, and mountain huckleberry. There will be other native plants worked with as well, to supplement the uses and knowledge that come from working with the five major native plants.

“These plants we will be working with are all traditional food sources. They are something that are ancestors would have had, and so we are really fortunate to have them still available to us,” says Jones. “Today these foods are no longer a part of our everyday diets. We are trying to reintroduce these native plants back into the diets of our people. We want to reach our people on that level because these plants were used as foods that healed us and kept our bodies full of all different types of nutrients that our bodies needed.”

To participate in the first class in this new series, to be held March 15, the Rediscovery Program staff ask that you please RSVP ahead of time by calling Virginia Jones at (360) 716-2635 and leave a brief message with your name and how many family members will be attending with you. The initial class will be accepting 20 tribal member participants, so RSVP your spot as soon as possible.

Also, all those who will be participating in the native plant gardening class should remember to bring garden gloves and paper bags.

“Working with native plants is our culture,” says Bill. “It’s a delicate balance of going out and being with nature, gathering plants in prayer and working with them in a respectful way. We are one with nature at this time.”

 

Contact: Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Preserve the Harvest for Winter Meals and Holiday Gifts

 

Fermentation is an ancient food preservation technique making a comeback.Photo: Gardener’s Supply Company

Fermentation is an ancient food preservation technique making a comeback.
Photo: Gardener’s Supply Company


by Melinda Myers

 

The cucumbers have filled the vegetable drawer, you’ve run out of cabbage recipes and your family is refusing to eat one more BLT. Or maybe you just couldn’t resist that special deal on a bushel of tomatoes, potatoes or apples at the farmer’s market. So what is a gardener or shopper to do with all that produce?

Since properly stored vegetables will hold their flavor and nutritional value longer than those left in a plastic bag or set on the sunny kitchen counter, consider preserving some for the long winter ahead using one of several methods.

Storage orchard racks and slatted crates placed in a cool dark location have long been used to store squash, onions and potatoes. The stackable nature or drawers provide ample storage space, so fruits and vegetables do not touch.  Keeping stored fruit separated prevents rot from spreading from one fruit to the next. Plus, the slatted sides allow airflow to extend storage longevity.

Those in colder climates can store their carrots and parsnips right in the garden. Once the soil gets a bit crunchy, cover them with straw or evergreen boughs for easier digging in winter. Then dig as needed or harvest during the first winter thaw. If this isn’t possible or not your style, try out a root vegetable storage bin. The root crops are layered in sand or sawdust and placed in a cool dark location. Just remove and use as needed. No snow shoveling needed.

Drying is one of the oldest food preservation techniques. Most of us have grabbed a few bundles of herbs to hang and dry. Expand your drying endeavors to include fruits and vegetables. The goal is to quickly remove moisture without cooking the food.  You can make your own dehydrator or purchase one. Research has shown that blanching vegetables and fruit before drying helps destroy harmful bacteria. Blanching involves a steam or boiling water bath followed by a cold water bath. Timing varies with the fruit or vegetable you are preparing.

Another ancient food preservation technique, fermentation, is experiencing a comeback. Cultures around the world have fermented fruits and vegetables for thousands of years. Unique flavors, storage options and health benefits have many gardeners revisiting this tradition. Fermenting cucumbers into pickles, cabbage into sauerkraut, and berries into preserves are just a few options.  The ingredients can be as simple as water, salt, and spices.  All you need is a vessel, vegetables and fermenting culture. You can jump-start your efforts with a fermentation crock kit (gardeners.com) which includes the crock, cover and weights to make sure your veggies stay safely submerged in water.

Or quickly lock in the flavor and nutrition of your fruits and vegetables with freezing. You’ll need airtight containers or bags that are durable, don’t leak and won’t become brittle in cold temperatures. Some produce does not freeze well and others may need to be blanched before they are packed in the freezer bag or container. But frozen items can easily be retrieved from the freezer and included in your winter meals.

Canning is a bit more involved, but can be lots of fun. This process preserves the food and keeps it safe by preventing the growth of undesirable bacteria, yeast and mold. The sealed jars keep the flavor in and bad microorganisms out. So gather your produce, jars, pressure cooker, canner and friends to create tomato sauce, salsa, jams and jellies to enjoy or give as gifts.

Whatever method you choose, do a bit of research before you start. You’ll have greater success and a lot more fun. The National Center for Home Food Preservation website, http://nchfp.uga.edu, provides all the basic information for storage and food preservation.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

5 Ways to Make Gardening With Kids Easy and Educational

Darla AntoineDarla Antoine's son Cuen holds a basket of strawberries he helped pick.

Darla Antoine
Darla Antoine’s son Cuen holds a basket of strawberries he helped pick.

 

Darla Antoine, Indian Country Today

 

It’s no secret that kids who help plant a garden are more likely to want to eat the fruits and vegetables that it produces—and growing a garden is a great way to get your kids interested in trying unfamiliar foods.

RELATED: 5 Easy Steps: How to Start a Community Garden

Whether you’re thinking of spearheading a school garden, you’ve got a plot in the community garden or you’re blessed to have a couple of raised beds in your own back yard, here are five tips for making gardening fun, easy and rewarding for your little ones:

1. Center the Garden on the Kids

Involve the kids in deciding what to plant and where to plant it. Use this as an opportunity to teach them about the balance between sunlight and shade, and even to help them learn to track to the path of the sun. You could even experiment and plant the same kind of plant or seed in three different locations with varying access to sunlight and water. Ask your children to observe the differences in the plants as they grow.

2. Designate a Specific Area for Their Gardening

If you’ve got your own ambitions for gardening it would be wise to designate a special bed or section of a bed specifically for the children to garden. This will keep them from over “helping” you and encourage them to take ownership over their own space. It may be a good idea to buy them their own gardening tools as well. Even simple plastic tools for playing in the sand could work well in a kiddie garden.

3. Make the Garden Interactive

Plant flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds and perhaps even encourage a cutting garden so that the kids can touch and smell the flowers. Release ladybugs into the garden and track their life cycle. Take photos of a favorite plant or vegetable once a week to track its growth. My favorite idea? Plant a sunflower house. Simply plant sunflower seeds or starts in a large circle, leaving enough space between two of the sunflowers for children to easily pass through without damaging the flowers. By the end of the summer the sunflowers will have grown up into a large round “house” with a gaping door—a perfectly shaded playhouse for the dog days of summer.

4. Keep it Simple

Your kids are likely to be more interested in the garden if they begin to see results sooner rather than later. Be sure to plant vegetables that grow quickly, like radishes, alongside more tantalizing varieties that will prove to be worth the wait, such as cherry tomatoes or sweet peas. Forgo seeds for starts to speed the “fruits of our labor” process up a bit more and don’t forget to plant herbs, which are ready to eat almost immediately.

5. Don’t Stop at the Garden

Use the garden as a resource and an excuse to get your kids in the kitchen all summer long too. Teach them how to cook and prepare delicious meals with the vegetables and herbs that they grew—even set the dinner table with a bouquet of fresh flowers from the garden as well. Begin to teach them delicious and simple food pairings, like fresh basil with tomato. If they’re old enough challenge them to find a new recipe once a week, whether they scour the web, your cookbooks or their imagination.

Happy Gardening!

Darla Antoine is an enrolled member of the Okanagan Indian Band in British Columbia and grew up in Eastern Washington State. For three years, she worked as a newspaper reporter in the Midwest, reporting on issues relevant to the Native and Hispanic communities, and most recently served as a producer for Native America Calling. In 2011, she moved to Costa Rica, where she currently lives with her husband and their infant son. She lives on an organic and sustainable farm in the “cloud forest”—the highlands of Costa Rica, 9,000 feet above sea level. Due to the high elevation, the conditions for farming and gardening are similar to that of the Pacific Northwest—cold and rainy for most of the year with a short growing season. Antoine has an herb garden, green house, a bee hive, cows, a goat, and two trout ponds stocked with hundreds of rainbow trout.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/06/23/5-ways-make-gardening-kids-easy-and-educational-155354

5 Easy Steps: How to Start a Community Garden

Cheyenne River Youth Project (LakotaYouth.org)Guided by traditional and spiritual principles, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has incorporated the traditional Lakota values of generosity, spirituality, wisdom, respect, courage, honesty and patience into the development of its 2-acre, naturally grown, pesticide-free Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady” in the Lakota language) garden.

Cheyenne River Youth Project (LakotaYouth.org)
Guided by traditional and spiritual principles, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has incorporated the traditional Lakota values of generosity, spirituality, wisdom, respect, courage, honesty and patience into the development of its 2-acre, naturally grown, pesticide-free Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady” in the Lakota language) garden.

 

Darla Antoine, ICTMN

 

For our ancestors, community gardening was the ONLY form of gardening, but as the landscape of our territories have been whittled away, so has our sense of communal responsibility and communal effort to feed ourselves.

Bringing gardening back to our communities has a number of obvious and not-so-obvious benefits: first, it is a great way to give ourselves dignified access to culturally appropriate foods and it’s a wonderful way to pool resources and strengthen community bonds. That much should be obvious. But did you know that community gardening might also reduce crime rates? One community garden in Philadelphia transformed their neighborhood by revamping and cleaning up an empty lot to house a beautiful community garden. Their efforts had a ripple effect and soon everyone was looking after their property—and their neighbors’—with more care.

And that’s not all: Community gardening gives elders in the community a voice and a chance to share their knowledge while teaching our youth the importance of sustainability and being sovereign—inter-generational exposure of cultural traditions is vital to our communities! Community gardens may also help your community grow traditional foods in a traditional way—something we don’t get from the supermarket.

Spending time in a garden or green space can also help reduce seasonal allergies, stress and air pollution. If built to include a composting station it can also reduce the amount of garbage taken to the landfill every week. And if they are involved in the gardening process, kids (of all ages) are more likely to eat their vegetables.

With all of those benefits, what are you waiting for! Here is how you can start your own community garden in five easy steps:

1. Organize a Meeting

Where will the garden be (find a place with at least 6 hours of sunlight and access to water)? How much are dues? How many plots and what size? What should be planted? Who will be involved? Who will benefit? Is there the possibility of funding or sponsorships to help cover the costs?

2. Form Committees

Who will be in charge of securing funding or collecting dues? Who will buy the seeds? Who will construct the plots? Will there be youth activities or a youth garden? Who will organize the planting and harvesting? Or is it all up to the individual plot owners?

3. Make Rules and Post Them

Involve the community in making the garden rules and the community will follow the rules. When are dues? How will the money be used? Will there be regular meetings? Are individuals responsible for the tending and harvesting of their own plots or is the garden an entire community effort from beginning to end? Will tools be provided to share or is everyone responsible for their own needs? Will the garden be organic?

4. Prepare and Develop Site

Clean the site, create a design or arrangement for the plots, build the garden beds, build a tool shed, and build a compost center. You may want to plant ornamental shrubs around the parameter of the garden to help make the garden look beautiful. You may also have to consider deer fencing or other steps to keep animals out of the garden. Don’t forget to plan pathways in-between all of the plots! Pathways that are able to accommodate wheelbarrows are highly suggested.

What considerations for traditional farming and gardening practices do you need to make? Do you want to honor the ancestors in the design of the garden somehow?

5. Stay in Touch

One of the purposes of a community garden is to strengthen the ties that bond a community. Be sure to create a phone tree, email list and/or put up a bulletin board to help members stay in touch when they need to. Also consider planning monthly workshops aimed at teaching the community how to garden, weed, harvest and maintain pest control without the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. You can also plan seasonal foraging expeditions for traditional foods– and don’t forget to plan a harvest festival!

Darla Antoine is an enrolled member of the Okanagan Indian Band in British Columbia and grew up in Eastern Washington State. For three years, she worked as a newspaper reporter in the Midwest, reporting on issues relevant to the Native and Hispanic communities, and most recently served as a producer for Native America Calling. In 2011, she moved to Costa Rica, where she currently lives with her husband and their infant son. She lives on an organic and sustainable farm in the “cloud forest”—the highlands of Costa Rica, 9,000 feet above sea level. Due to the high elevation, the conditions for farming and gardening are similar to that of the Pacific Northwest—cold and rainy for most of the year with a short growing season. Antoine has an herb garden, green house, a bee hive, cows, a goat, and two trout ponds stocked with hundreds of rainbow trout.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/04/07/5-easy-steps-how-start-community-garden-154309

Gardening season at Hibulb opens with goal to donate to local food banks

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – Dust off your shovels, favorite gardening gloves and garb because it is time for some greenhouse gardening.

A working partnership between the Tulalip Tribes and the Washington State University Snohomish County Master Gardeners Foundation is making available a series of classes for interested gardeners of all levels. Classes will be held at the Tulalip Hilbulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve.

In addition to classes, the crops grown this year will be used to aid local food banks, such as the Tulalip Food Bank, and other Snohomish County master gardener food bank gardens.

Gardening will be done in the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve’s demonstration garden, ‘Gardening Together as Families’. Classes will begin with a two-part series on seedling, followed with a two-part series on transplanting.

Through a hands-on approach, participants will work together to learn the “how-to’s” of greenhouse gardening and grow organic vegetables and herbs that will focus on traditional native food and medicine plants. Participants will also learn the benefits of healthy living through gardening, and how to reduce the impact of invasive species.

Classes are open to the public and there is no fee to attend.

Greenhouse Gardening kicks off February 12, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Seedling class will be held Sunday, February 23, 1 -3 p.m. and again on Wednesday, February 26, 1-3 p.m. Transplanting class will be held Sunday, March 16, 1-3 p.m. and again on Wednesday, March 19, 1-3 p.m.

The WSU Extension Master Gardener Program train volunteers to be effective community educators in gardening and environmental stewardship. They also enhance communities through demonstration gardens and donation of produce to local food banks.

For more information about the classes or the ‘Gardening Together as Families’ program at the Hibulb Cultural Center, please contact Veronica Leahy at 360-716-5642 or vleahy@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

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Greenhouse classes at the Hibulb Cultural Center begin Feb 12

We would like to invite you to attend our greenhouse classes at the Hibulb Cultural Center beginning this month. We are looking forward to another garden season of good food, new friendships and great memories!
 
This year we have something special to announce: We are partnering with WSU Snohomish County Master Gardeners Foundation to grow vegetables and herbs for our Tulalip garden programs, our local food bank and many other Snohomish county master gardener food bank gardens. We welcome you to come alone or bring your family to any of the greenhouse classes we provide. There is plenty of work for all gardening levels.
 
See the flyer for dates and times. For more info contact Veronica Leahy, 360.716.5642 or vleahy@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

 

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Time to plant! ’Tis the season for bulbs and shrubs

Ornamental kale, as edible as any other kind of kale, blooms all winter long. It is the cold that makes it take on its vivid coloring; ornamental kale is not as colorful in the warm months.Photo by Terren

Ornamental kale, as edible as any other kind of kale, blooms all winter long. It is the cold that makes it take on its vivid coloring; ornamental kale is not as colorful in the warm months.
Photo by Terren

By Polly Keary, Editor, The Monroe Monitor

With leaves off the trees and gardens dormant, it might not seem like the time to plant anything.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

An array of packets of bulbs fills a large display at Pine Creek Nursery. Now is the time to get bulbs in the ground for a colorful early spring garden.  Photo by Polly Keary

An array of packets of bulbs fills a large display at Pine Creek Nursery. Now is the time to get bulbs in the ground for a colorful early spring garden.
Photo by Polly Keary

 

In fact, to ensure a beautiful and healthy display in your yard next spring, or to keep your yard as lively as possible through the winter, head to local nurseries and pick up shrubs, trees and bulbs and get them in the ground.

“It’s the number one time to plant, because you are getting them in the ground where they get rained on all winter,” said Gwen Sayers at Pine Creek Nursery in Monroe, which has a wide variety of shrubs on the premises right now. “They don’t get stressed by heat, and they get all winter and spring to get established and get roots.”

Among the shrubs that are good to plant right now are evergreens, cypress, Japanese holly, juniper, cedar and weeping evergreens.

Also, flowering kale is actually at its brightest and most vivid in the winter months.

“Kale does great,” said Sayers. “It’s ornamental. They don’t grow a lot in spring and summer. They develop their color from the cold.”

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that you can’t have container gardens. In fact, they can do a lot to liven up patios and corners in the colder months.

“That’s something we love to do is do planters with evergreen and things like kale,” said Sayers. “A lot of that stuff will go into the summer, because it’s perennial.”

In the summer, you can plant annual flowers around a central perennial, and the perennial will still be there through the winter.

Another plant that is nice in winter container gardens, as it’s not hardy enough to be in the ground through a cold winter, is lemon cypress, a bright green-gold shrub that forms into low bushes.

Also right now is the time to plant your bulbs for early spring displays.

Garden stores everywhere are stocked up on tulips, crocus, hyacinth, daffodils and other bulbs right now, and perusing the colorful aisles planning next year’s garden-scape can be a lot of fun on a rainy afternoon.