I’ve written before that winter is one of the best times to take stock of your lawn and garden and to plan for the new year’s planting.
Seed catalogs are now arriving as well as those fantasy ones from the likes of Jackson & Perkins. I always want one of each.
Homeowners need to incorporate evergreens into their gardens so they have winter “bones.” As the trees grow you get the added bonus of having somewhere to hang holiday lights. Witch hazel shrubs sprout blossoms before the end of winter and always bring a jolt of color and a smile when blooming.
Research a few trees and shrubs that have distinctive bark or colors and add one or two this year. Make 2016 the year you tried something new.
For the birds
I have been enjoying watching birds attack the suet cakes I’ve hung on the outside veranda. I don’t have a bird book here so I haven’t been able to identify all the birds but have noted three different types of woodpeckers. One very small fellow that was black and white with a small red mark.
Yes, occasionally I’ll get a few pigeons trying to interfere with the feeders but for the most part they know their place.
It is important in the cold weather to fill feeders and water sources often. Reliable food sources are something that keeps the neighbors close and provide so much theater.
What goes in or stays out of the fridge
We all know not to refrigerate tomatoes, the cold temperature can lead to unsavory textures and flavors. But other vegetables and a few fruits, like tomatoes, shouldn’t be refrigerated at all.
Let tomatoes sit on the counter at room temperature and store onions, garlic and potatoes, separately in cool dark places with good air flow.
• Onions and garlic can lose their crispness and become moldy when exposed to the refrigerator’s moisture. And, who hasn’t experienced this, they can impart their flavors on foods stored nearby.
• Tomatoes flavor changes when chilled and the texture can turn mealy as the cold temperatures break down membranes within the fruit.
• Potatoes starch content converts to sugar when cold, which leads to an unpleasantly sweet taste and discoloration when they’re cooked.
Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is a master gardener.