Thursday, May 20, 2010

Winter garden: what do I do w/ tomato, rose, and hydrangea?

I just planted a garden for the 1st time this summer %26amp; I have many rose bushes, tomatoes, and a few hydrangeas. What do I do in the winter (I'm in New York State, snow from Nov to March,)?

If I cover them w/ a bag or burlap or something (will pillowcases work?), don't they need to breathe? Do I leave it on all winter, or only when it snows or gets very chilly? Thank you very much

Winter garden: what do I do w/ tomato, rose, and hydrangea?
Tomatoes are a one year thing, once they die, you can trash them. As for the rose bushes and the hydrangea bushes, leave in the ground. They don't bloom through the winter months but they revive every spring. If you cover them with anything blocking out thier sunlight, they will die. Happy Gardening!
Reply:Tomatoes last only one year anyway (at least outside) so after the frost kills them, remove the vines and destroy them or throw them away. Your hydrangeas should be fine but it might be wise to cover them with a light mulch (new stems come up each year). The roses? Do not cut them back drastrically in the fall but remove some unsightly canes and try to get rid of the leaves that fall after a frost too. Mound your roses up to six inches with soil, then cover the whole rose bed with leaves from your yard.
Reply:I lived in Cold Spring, NY and worked at a public garden there. This is what we did with our plants:

Tomatoes- pull them out and clean up the veg garden for next year. Tomatoes will not survive the winter in Upstate NY. Best to just replant those.

Roses- We 'hilled' those. What we did was take some soil (not potting mix) and piled it at the base of the roses, about 6 inches deep. This way the roots were kept safe from a hard freeze. Definitely don't trim or prune them. We pruned the roses earlier in the year.

Hydrangea- We didn't do anything special with those. But if you wanted to cover them, cover them with reemay. That is what we used. We covered things like hellebore and other not-so-hardy plants with it. Here's a site:

Reemay will keep them cozy and also let them breathe.

As it got closer to winter, we would put the reemay on as needed. If we knew it was going to be very cold that night, the reemay would go on. We kept reemay on all winter. Then as the months began to get warmer, again we took it off or put it on 'as needed.' It was certainly a process since there were many plants we did this for, but we did it for the collection!!

Hope this helps!
Reply:Tomatoes will only last the season they were planted, once fall comes they will die and next year you will have to plant new tomato plants. Roses and hydrangeas will last through the winter with no problems. The roses should be trimmed back to about 6-10 inch canes or so. Make sure you don't trim them too low because some roses are grafted onto different root stock and you could destroy the above plant. If you keep the canes a little longer then you won't have to worry about this. Hydrangeas don't need any special care. If you trim them, you will be cutting off next years bud growth and you wont get any flowers. Hydrangeas are best pruned in the spring and the only thing that I prune on mine is already dead wood. I never prune them at all other than that. I mulch both my roses and hydrangeas to help protect the roots from cold temperatures and to retain moisture in the soil. I don't think this must be done for these plants, but I see it as a preventative measure that doesn't hurt and the base of my plants look more groomed. Some people cover their roses but I never cover mine and they do ok, I'm in zone 6. I hope this was helpful and enjoy your new garden as it grows!!!
Reply:All that is needed has been said already. I would just like to add this: don't remove the flower heads from the hydrangeas until after the worst of the winter is over as they help protect the plants new growth from frosts. Roses can be pruned during a mild spell once they have entered dormancy to prevent wind rock and weather damage.

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