Stella Otto: The Backyard Fruit Gardener

Today's Tip: Mow vegetation short around the base of fruit trees and bushes to reduce winter habitat for rodents.

Category Archives: Winter

Prognostications from Punxsutawney Phil & Why 6 More Weeks of Winter is Good

Wisconsin-shaped hole in the snow cover

It’s the day after groud­hog day and the great prog­nos­ti­ca­tor of spring’s arrival has “spo­ken.” We are in for 6 more weeks of win­ter.…… Yes,  I can hear your col­lec­tive groan of res­ig­na­tion and dread, but really, for the fruit gar­den this is a good thing. Here are a reason-a-week, and some sug­gested gar­den activities […]

And THIS is Why we Mulch Strawberries in the Winter.……

From 44°F to 14°F in 2 days; it’s these dra­matic tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions in a short time that wrecks havoc with fruit­ing plants. Add to that a wind chill that put tem­per­a­tures in the sin­gle dig­its and you have a recipe for tis­sue des­ic­ca­tion (dry­ing out) and crown injury to exposed straw­berry plants. Early in the win­ter, the […]

Winter Protection for Strawberries

Spreading hay mulch on strawberries for winter protection

Why Mulch? As tem­per­a­tures drop and day-length short­ens, straw­ber­ries begin to go into dor­mancy to pro­tect them­selves from win­ter cold. New leaf growth stops, old leaves turn red, and the plants take on a low pro­file “flat­tened” appear­ance. By late Novem­ber the plants have gained con­sid­er­able har­di­ness or abil­ity to with­stand cold. As tem­per­a­tures remain […]

Winter is coming — Is your Fruit Garden Ready?

First dusting of snow in the strawberries

The arrival of win­ter is inevitable and much as we all love to gar­den, the occa­sional break from plant­ing, bat­tling pests, and har­vest­ing is an impor­tant and wel­come respite. The break is impor­tant for our fruit­ing plants as well. Although it may appear that our plants are doing noth­ing, that’s not really true. Many necessary […]