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Gardener's Notebook: Snow actually protects garden

Mother Nature’s own insulation for plants
garden snow 72
Snow might mean shoveling walks, but it's actually good for your garden.
YORKTON - Even though winter officially began on December 21, probably most of us feel like we have been having winter for quite a long time already! The snowfalls of the past week or two have certainly changed our gardening landscape. I read an interesting factoid about the snow: it makes a great “mulch” for our plants in the garden because it is like Mother Nature’s own insulation for the plants. But it is also good for the garden: it keeps the ground frozen, and that protects our perennials. Repeated freezing and thawing does more harm to our plants than consistent cold. So the lavish snowfalls we have had will be a good blanket for our outdoor plants.

And what about those plants that we brought indoors in the fall? Depending on the setup you have for your plants, some might be looking quite good if they are under grow lights. But for many of us, those plants are starting to look a little ragged and tired! They don’t look like the lush specimens that we brought in three months ago!

What can we do for our plants? Most of them would like as much light as we can give them. They might not like being in a very sunny window, but they would like nice gentle light.

We should be on the lookout for any visitors on our plants. We should check the leaves regularly and watch for any sign of pests like aphids. If we see them, a nice little bath with insecticidal soap will take care of the problem.

We should also keep the containers tidy, and remove any fallen leaves. The plants have gone through a big change in their environment when we moved them indoors, and it is only natural that some leaves will fall. Not only are they getting less light, but the temperature in a house with central heating is very different from the temperature fluctuations outdoors. So don’t panic if a few leaves fall.

One thing we have to be watchful for is not to water our plants too much. When our plants were outdoors with the sun beaming down on them and the summer winds drying out the soil, it is quite different than being indoors. And we have to remember that they are not growing in the same way as they were outside. So we have to be sure not to get too generous with the watering can.

As a treat for the plants, we can give them some fertilizer as a little winter tonic. And if the plants are starting to look quite bedraggled, we might want to consider cutting them back so that their energy is going into fresh new growth, rather than going into straggling stems that will likely get cut off later anyway.

And just as our plants have to adjust to being inside for the winter, they will have to re-adjust all over again when the time comes for them to be returned to the great outdoors. We can talk about that when spring gets a little closer. As of today, January 5, the first day of spring 2022 is 74 days away. Gardeners always look ahead!

For our gardening friends who are celebrating Ukrainian Christmas this week, Khrystos Rozhdayetsia, Christ is Born. Have a beautiful celebration of this special time. Visit the Yorkton hort society at and see some great holiday plant photos; thanks to our members who submitted photos and to our creative webmaster John who put it all together! Keep visiting our site, there is always something new!

Thank you to our friends at YTW for their consistently great work! Have a good week, gardeners, and stay warm!