Winterizing, dividing and mulching your gardens

August is the time of year when I neglect my flower gardens most. With all the hustle and bustle of preserving the bounty, my days are filled with the harvest and ‘putting up’. I love it all though… this garden bounty between the can shelves, freezers and jars of dried herbs. We’ve sown and now we’re reaping.


So now that Septembers arrived, lets talk about preparing for next years gardens. First off, I always draw my plans for both my vegetable gardens garden’s as well as my flower beds. I like to keep reminders of what I need to plant where and when along with other pertinent info that I would otherwise forget.


There are several things to consider when winterizing, dividing and mulching your gardens.


Now’s the time to start to plant fall bulbs and garlic.. You have until mid October but the temps are getting colder. Keep posted on a how and when to plant garlic!


The other thing August reveals to me is I don’t have enough things blooming compared to the other months. August has always been a hard time for me to pay attention… but not this year. I’ve got my list of what I need to transplant and where for next year in my garden journal.


Most perennials are cut back after we have had a killing frost in the fall. This usually occurs in late September or early October for us living in the Midwest, zone 4-5. Due to my location, I don’t ‘clean-up’ my beds. I leave the debris and the leaves because they act as natural mulches and help insulate my less hardy perennials, like lavender.


I clean my beds and remove the debris and leaves and do the necessary divisions/ splitting in the spring once there’s at least two to three inches of new growth.

If you have vegetable gardens, I recommend applying a layer of manure this fall so it will compost through the winter and be ready to till in the spring. I do this in my raised beds as well. In the spring we simply scratch it all in and put a six inch layer of fresh composted soil on top, and then we’re ready to plant.


A general rule of thumb when trying to decide when the best time to transplant and divide your perennials is if they bloomed in spring or early summer, divide or move in fall. If it bloomed in late summer or fall, it’s recommended to split in the spring. With the exception of daylilies and irises, which prefer an August move. One other factor is plants with taproots, like comfry prefer not to be moved at all, rather take an offshoot following the rule of bloom time.


Plants with tender crowns like Delphinium can be protected by filling an empty nursery pot with leaves and setting the pot over the crown of the plant. Place a rock or brick on the pot to keep it in place. The crown of the plant will stay dry and protected over the winter.

I often look for bargains at the big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes for typically expensive shrubs or other larger plants that they’re hurriedly trying to clearance out…’something’s better than nothing’ mentality for them. Well, I’m happy to oblige and I can honestly say I can count on one hand how many plants I’ve lost due to late fall planting. There’s a few tricks to having a successful fall planting.
*Place a deep mulch, at least a foot around the base of the plant.
*Water regularly until the first light frost.
*If it is a tender perennial, follow the step listed above for Delphiniums.
*Some shrubs might do better if wrapped for the winter as well.
By following these few simple tricks, I’ve had wonderful success with late fall plantings.

Get more great info at

Winterizing your gardens will give you peace of mind, knowing that your much cherished plants will have a better chance of survival. Be sure to follow the rules of proper plant division and the few tips on mulching and again, you’re sure to rest easy this winter knowing that you’ll enjoy those beautiful plants next spring!

Happy day,

Grow veggies in the shade and some yummy recipes!

My 2014 raised bed garden plan

My 2014 raised bed garden plan

Gardening is therapy for me. Being able to run my fingers through freshly mellowed soil… holding some tiny seeds in the palm of my hand and then dropping them in a carefully made furrow… gently covering and patting the soil… watering to help it come alive… Gardening is pure passion…


I’m very blessed to have ample area’s of sunny spots to garden in, although I realize that this is not every gardener or gardener-wanna-be’s situation. Well don’t despair~ if you have at least two hours of sunshine a day, YOU can garden too!

I have some shady area’s that I need to plan for in one of my raised bed gardens. The photo above is my plot plan for next year’s plantings in this garden (photo below). The bottom two rows of beds ( in drawing)  get a substantial amount of shade from the large tree beside it. As you can see in my plot plan I have several of the things listed below planted in those beds, with the exception’s of squash and basil.


Many people think this is an impossibility, but not so! Gardening in the shade is possible. There’s actually several wonderful garden veggies and herbs that will tolerate only two to five hours of direct sunlight, while producing a fair amount of produce for you.

You can plant many of these crops right now for a fall and winter harvest.  Check your zone and the maturity dates before you plant.


~Here are some culinary herbs that will produce well with only two to five hours of sunshine per day:
*Sweet Marjoram


~Here are some Veggies that will tolerate some shade with about four to five hours of sunshine per day:
*Greens you can plant include lettuces, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, arugula, Asian greens, mustard greens and mesclun mixes.
*Peas, both shell and snow
*Scallions (Green Onions)

You will have great success with many of these crops if you harvest them as ‘baby’- greens, carrots and potatoes.   These crops will provide a fair supply, just on a smaller size scale.


Gardening in the shade does require a bit more patience. Things definitely take a bit longer to mature, but they will… and the rewards will be worth the wait.

Here are some recipes to use some of your garden goodies!

Sensational Cilantro Dip

4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped or 2 Tbsp. dried
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, about 4-6 limes
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 Tbsp. green chilies, chopped finely
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Combine all ingredients and serve with tortilla chips or use as a topping for taco’s or rice.

Yummy Feta Chive Muffins

2 to 2 1/2 cups organic white flour
3 tsp. aluminum free baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbles without the juice
1/4 cup fresh chives, snipped or 2 Tbsp. dried.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine all dry ingredients; In a separate bowl, mix eggs, mild and oil; stir gently into dry ingredients.
fold in feta chees and chives.
fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Serve warm!

Happy day!