layer of mulch for protection during the cold winter months, and water new plants thoroughly. So, if you are looking for an “exotic” plant for the perennial bed, consider planting some torch lilies now. Root crops such as beets, carrots, and turnips can be stored right in the ground through most of the winter. Cover them with a few inches of soil and add a thick mulch over the soil. Continue to clean up any old debris left in the garden and compost it. If you like to use newspapers as mulch in the vegetable garden and lay them out in the spring, a good fall and winter activity is to glue them end to end and store them as rolls. The paper mulch unrolls easily and won’t be lifted by wind before anchoring. Remove grass and weeds from around the trunks of fruit trees and grapes to prevent damage by mice and other rodents. Leave a bare circle (one foot wide) around tree trunks when spreading mulch to keep mice from feeding on the bark. A collar or fence of poultry
wire or a commercial tree guard approximately 18 inches tall will deter rodents and rabbits. Most gardeners know the value of mulching plants during the growing season. Used correctly, mulches keep down weeds, moderate soil temperatures, conserve moisture, and can give an attractive appearance to the landscape.
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November 2014 Tidewater Times