Are you looking for something fun to do on Thanksgiving weekend? The Saturday following the well-known “Black Friday” has become “Small Business Saturday” – a day to support locally based shops in your area. For my fellow gardeners and I, this is just one more great reason to take a trip to the local nurseries.
As the landscapes begin to fall into their winter sleep after our recent storms, it is the perfect time to purchase gifts for our landscape too. Sometimes the landscape needs just a little more pizzazz, may it be evergreen color, texture or structure.
Many nurseries still have fall sales happening, and often discount plants, in hopes of unloading their stock before the winter months. Local landscaping nurseries are filled with plants and landscaping materials, and many have expanded for the holidays to carry decorations for all winter occasions. You can find live and cut Christmas trees, ornaments of all shapes and sizes, candlesticks, indoor and outdoor décor, as well as books, thermometers, weather stations and more.
And, now is a great time to plant. Fall planting is less stressful on plants, and soils are moist and relatively warm. You will just need to make sure to water every few weeks if we do not have frequent rain or snow storms.
It is a standard practice to mulch new plants or incorporate compost to improve our nutrient-depleted soils, but what about existing plants? Mulch or compost are perfect gifts for our trees and shrubs. Mulching now will help prevent weeds in the spring months and also keep moisture from evaporating on our warm windy days. Mulch also acts as a type of thermal blanket and allows the soils to keep a more consistent temperature throughout the year.
If you purchase compost and use it as a mulch, your plants not only receive the benefits of what a mulch does, but you will also be helping feed the soil and the plant roots in spring. It is a common practice for vegetable gardeners to add compost to the garden each fall. Productive vegetable gardens can easily use up to 4 to 6 inches of organic matter each year, so stock up.
If you decide to purchase your compost in bulk, don’t forget the rest of the yard. Most plants will benefit from a top dressing of compost. If you make your own, you may not have enough to go around the entire yard.
Today would be a perfect day to treat yourself to a new composter or any garden tool that might make things easier for next year. Think of friends, family and yourself as you wander through the stores. It never hurts to take pictures and text message holiday gift ideas to relatives and friends. We gardeners find inspiration for the landscape and garden throughout the year, not just in spring.
Wendy Hanson Mazet is a horticulturist and certified arborist with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Have questions about your landscape or plants? Contact a Master Gardener at 775-336-0265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.