House Plants need a little more watchful care through the winter months. Keep them from cold drafts. Water the more tender species with tepid water only. Sudden chilling of the root systems with icy cold water can shock the plants sufficiently to throw them out of bloom.
However, don’t treat your potted plants as if they were aquatics – by leaving the pots standing in saucers of water at all times. Let the soil soak up as much as it can. Then place the pots in dry saucers to allow natural drainage and air penetration into the soil. Fill vermiculite pots with more soil than other pots to avoid applying too much water.
In the vegetable garden activities slow down this month, but you can still sow lettuce, cabbage and onion seeds in the coldframe for planting out in early spring. For fresh table use through the winter plant radishes in the coldframe every two weeks.
Rhubarb can be planted in the Upper South only. It likes cold winters too well to stand the warmth of the Middle and Lower South. This vegetable, by the way, is about the only one that can stand shade. It will last longer if shaded during the hot summer months.
Some hardy vegetables can be protected and left in the garden for winter use. Beets, carrots, onions, parsnips and yellow turnips can be pulled as needed if protected with a blanket of pine straw or similar material or mounded up with soil an inch or two deep. Leafy tops, like lettuce, kale, Swiss-Chard and turnips for greens, can be given some protection by placing pine tops along the rows.
Shrub planting gets into full swing. Most of the plants are now in perfect shape for planting – coniferous evergreens, broad-leaved evergreens, deciduous shrubs and trees. This is a good time, too, to give your shrubs a winter mulch of peatmoss and pulverized sheep manure, half and half, or a light mulch of well-rotted stable manure.