Winter Chores

While the rest of the country has been frozen, California is having a winter heatwave. Yesterday San Francisco set a new record high for the date at 74F (23C,) and there may be another record high today. Since I’m fortunate to live someplace with a mild climate, and I’m able to grow orchids outdoors all year, I won’t complain about my wintertime garden work. But I wasn’t expecting watering to become a new winter chore. Even though most orchids are dormant, they’ve needed a little drink to keep from totally drying out.

Other more typical winter chores include weeding and picking up fallen leaves and flowers. It’s best to be proactive about weeds. If they flower and set seed, your weeding tasks will multiply, so get them beforehand. Leaf and flower debris can provide hiding places for unwelcome pests, so these should be cleaned up too. They make great additions to homemade compost.

And speaking of pests, watch for aphids, scale, mealybug, and spider mites. Many natural controls work well and are safe for the environment. I go after pests by mixing a couple spoons of rubbing alcohol, a spoon of mild dish soap, and tepid water in a spray bottle. I spray the mixture on the plants, making sure to get the undersides of the leaves, too. This mixture is effective against most plant pests. Neem oil is another natural product that can be sprayed onto plants to kill most overwintering insects. You can find neem at most garden centers and plant stores.

To top off these winter chores, we’re pulling together some great new blog material in the next couple weeks, so check back again soon!

Explore posts in the same categories: Dormancy, Growing, Problems

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One Comment on “Winter Chores”

  1. Nicola Says:

    thanks for the great info!!!