One of the challenges for zone 4 gardening is dealing with the effects the cold weather has on the plants. Not the ones in the greenhouse but the ones in the beds. Winter Greenhouse and Garden Chores are a necessary job in the gardening business.

When we have a good amount of snow, as we do this year, the plants are insulated from the cold. A good cover of snow will dampen the effects from a cold snap, and by cold we mean in the neighborhood of twenty below zero of lower. All the perennials we have in the permanent gardens are suppose to be hearty to at least 30 below but when the ground is bare all bets are off. So at least we are covered for now.

The other plants we are concerned with are the perennial stock in the raised beds. These are last years starts put up in one gallon pots. One of 3 things will happen to these plants,
They will survive all assaults and we will have a nice crop for spring sales.

The cold will kill a certain number of them and we will need to start from scratch.
The voles will eat the roots, killing some of the plants.
The good news is with the snow cover the pots will be protected from cold and freeze thaw that can kill the plants.

The bad news is the snow cover provides a hiding place for the voles. Last year we tried to use straw to bed the gallon pots but the seed in the straw fed the voles. They gathered the seeds and buried it in many of the pots. While they were there they ate many of the plant root systems. This year we have decided to forgo the straw and let the show do the work. We shall see in the spring.

One thing is for certain. We will be starting a number of popular perennials this year, to cover ourselves in-case the plants die or are eaten and also to provide a new stock for the 2009 season. It pays to plan ahead.

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