Setting up a composting bin with your family can be a fun and educational experience. Plus, you will be instilling important values in your children at an early age. If they know how to make and use a compost bin when they are young, they will most likely keep one when they have their own home.
So what can be put in a compost bin? Well, almost any food scraps (except meat, bones and fatty foods like cheese if you don’t want to create odors that attract pests) and waste from your yards such as grass clippings and leaves can be added. Instead of putting these items in the trash can, put them in a compost bin instead.
Day after day the materials in the bin will start breaking down. Eventually, the material can be used as compost, which can be applied to gardens and flowerbeds. After the harsh winter, you can replenish the soil so your landscaping flourishes.
Pollard Your Trees
Are you always worried about whether your trees will withstand the stormy weather? Instead of waiting for a tree branch to break a window or take out your roof, prevent the branches from destroying your home with a simple pruning tip.
Stemming the tree roots is an easy way to keep a tree’s branches away from your home and your neighbor’s home. This pruning process is called pollarding. It’s a simple procedure that stops the root balls of trees from growing. All you need to do is cut the branches back from the trunk.
You will end up with straight trees that have thin branches at the top. You can use the excess wood to build a fence or provide your home with renewable heating. A pollarded tree looks well manicured, and it might save you from costly repairs in the future, especially if you’re in an area that commonly gets strong winds or large amounts of snow.
Fabulous Fall Foliage
Evergreen trees are just one type of plant that you can add to your yard, so it doesn’t look so lifeless and colorless in the winter. Other “evergreen” plants can turn your landscaping into a themed fall extravaganza featuring yellows, oranges, reds, and plums.
The suggested plants below are considered evergreens, but they behave a little bit differently than evergreen trees. Although they grow all season, they will turn shades of red and purple instead of staying green.
There are several species of abelia (abelias), and these plants can go well into the winter with their red and bronze coloring. The bearberry (arctostaphylos uva-ursi) has glossy leaves and turns a deep red to purple. Heather (Calluna vulgaris), as well as Heath (Erica), can be red, orange or yellow so that these plants can give you some variation.
Some other plants you might want to consider include the creeping grape holly (Mahonia), wandflower and the wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei).
Preparing Your Garden for Winter
Gardens, as well as landscaping, can look downright awful in the wintertime. Instead of letting all of the dead debris take over your yard, you can prepare your yard for the winter.
After a few light or hard frosts, your annuals will eventually blacken, which is a sign that they need to be removed. However, inpatients and begonias should be removed before the first frost, because they become so slimy. To remove annuals, pull out the plants by the roots or clip the stems as close as you can to the ground.
In late fall or early winter, you can cut down your perennials. Make sure you wait for the weather to become consistent because you don’t want the plants to use up their stored energy and bloom during the mild part of early winter. Another tip is to cut them, so there is at least 3 inches of stem above the ground.
One last order of business for your landscaping is to rake up most of the leaves, so they don’t smother your ground covers. You can leave a few leaves because they will eventually break down and enrich the soil.