by Bonnah Boyd, Somervell County Master Gardener
*Cover flower and shrub beds with from 3 – 4 inches of mulch to prevent moisture evaporation and to modify soil temperatures.
*Clean out warm-season flower beds, add an inch or two of compost and mix it into the soil.
*Water the entire landscape at least once in December in the absence of significant rainfall to prevent freeze damage.
*If a hard, prolonged freeze (24 hours or more) is predicted, cover freeze-sensitive plants with cardboard boxes or blankets.
*Move tender container plants indoors near a very bright window to keep them healthy through the winter.
*Mow winter weeds to keep them in check.
*In areas of the vegetable or herb garden that are void of plants, pull winter weeds and plant a cover crop, such as cereal rye grain.
*Cover crops reduce weed establishment and can be tilled into the soil later to improve the soil.
*Use leaves from the trees to build a compost pile or as walkway materials. Continue to add leaves to the walkway as they press down with foot traffic.
*Remember to provide water for the birds during winter.
*This is a great time to plan next year’s gardens. Try some new things. Add a new “feature” to your garden.