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GARDENER’S CHECKLIST: Week of December 29, 2022

New Year's Eve gardening thoughts from the consummate Berkshire gardener. Find out how to keep your houseplants temperately watered, your person tick-free, and your holiday table supplied to everyone's satisfaction.

Editor’s Note: This article was previously published in 2020, and is re-printed here with updates from the author.

* Put the wraps on the 2022 gardening season by reviewing the successes and failures of the past year… uh, in the garden only. My failures outside of the garden would be far too numerous to review before the onset of the New Year.

* Stack the gardening and cook books received at Christmas beside the bed for night time reading. Also, keep a notebook handy to jot down gardening ideas inspired by said reading. Why the cooking literature? Vegetable gardening and food preparation go hand in hand. Now if only I could stay awake long enough to get past two pages.

* Re-apply repellents to yews, rhododendrons, arborvitae, and landscape plants that are favorite menu items for hungry deer. So far, feeding pressures have not been very great due to the largely open winter, but that could change quickly. Still, it is best not to have deer get in the habit of dining in our home landscapes; that’s a tough habit to break. 

* Allow water to come to room temperature before watering house plants. The roots of tropical plants in particular are very sensitive to cold water. 

Be sure water is at room temperature before applying to houseplants.

* When working outdoors, apply a tick repellent containing permethrin to clothing. Yes, I know it is winter, but apparently Blacklegged (deer) ticks don’t pay attention to the calendar. They are active any time temperatures rise above freezing. We’ve recently found ticks crawling on our clothing after working outdoors. The canine member of our family also continues to provide a free taxi service for ticks. These tiny ambushers are not to be taken lightly, as they can transmit very serious diseases to humans.

* When it comes to vegetable offerings at the holiday table, gather the family together and ask each member for their dining preference. This will help when planning seed orders for the vegetable garden. There’s no sense in buying and growing vegetables that no one will eat. I’m a slow learner; it’s only taken me fifty plus years to come to that conclusion.

* On cold wintry evenings, spend some quality time with your gardening tools. Sharpen the edges of shears, mower blades, hoes, flat-edged spades, and edgers. Use a steel brush to scrub dirt and rust from metal surfaces of spades, trowels, and shovels.


The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.

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It seems this week has all the important gardening tasks scheduled for early morning.


A good editor knows what to excise, and what to enhance. With that in mind, I grabbed my chainsaw, and removed a magnolia.


Be lazy and take time to enjoy the flowers and the wildlife they support.

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.