As I look around my small corner of the world I find a small handful of people with their Christmas lights still twinkling lending their light to our cold January evenings and mornings. Our lights are still up and until last night so was our live tree. I thought to take the tree down earlier but I really do enjoy the glow it provides as I roam through the house. The tree did fairly well this season by not dropping many of its needles until take down, some of its branch ends fell off leading me to believe that it was overdue. I have not been a total lazy person; I did manage to take advantage of a sunny day to take down the big balls outside. The rest of the Christmas decorations will eventually be put away, not that I hate putting the Christmas things away it saddens me that such a lovely season is over.
Last year I tried a little experiment with our spent Christmas tree. I am certain everyone has heard that I dry Christmas tree is just waiting to burst into flames, I decided to check that out. Our tree was reduced to ash within 5 minutes, leaving the big stuff like the trunk and the larger limbs. While that was exciting to watch, it is scary to think that could happen in our homes. On a side note, I was surprised to learn that 93 percent of live trees are recycled! I have never taken our tree to a recycling area nor do I know of anyone who has. I did find some things you can do with your tree as a sort of recycle. I wish the deer would eat the cast out Christmas tree, darn.
Create a bird feeder. Once you have cleared the tree of decorations you can set it up outside and hang bird food ornaments on it. You can check out this websites for homemade bird food decorations.
If you yard allows you can just toss the tree near your property line and it will provide shelter for birds. Of course, you will still need to deal with the tree when the warm weather returns.
You can start a new compost pile. Use the thin branches as the base that can provide the airflow then pile on the kitchen scraps. With time, the evergreen will break down to compost.
You can hand cut the tree into manageable sizes “handmade” mulch to use around the garden and paths and mulch around plantings away from your buildings.
You can use the branches for your early peas to climb; it will not be long before we are planning our gardens for planting. The old wife’s tale tells us to get your peas in the ground before Good Friday so the bunnies will not be eating the sprouts. Good Friday is right around the corner, this year it is on April 14th.
Until planting season, you can find comfort in the seed catalogues that have begun flooding our mailboxes. You can also check out some events that the Kosciusko County Master Gardeners are hosting this winter season.
The first one is the Northern Indiana Seed Swap Saturday, Jan. 28 from 8 to 10 a.m. at 202 W. Main St. Warsaw. This is a free event to the public and you are encouraged to bring your saved seeds to swap. Even if you have no seeds to swap please plan to attend there will still be seeds available and you can learn from our area expert on the topic. This event also includes vendors for you to shop from!
The second event is the Kosciusko County Master Gardeners Symposium on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 202 W. Main St. Warsaw from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You do not need to be a “Master Gardener” to attend. Some of the topics are “Extending the Growing Season”,” Utilizing Native Plants in the Landscaping” and one of my favorites “Roses”. Registration is open now until day of and includes continental breakfast and lunch. The vendors will remain on site for your shopping pleasure! Please come expecting to learn with fellow enthusiasts, bring a friend and make a day of it.
The third event is “Gardening Away The Winter Blues” is actually a series of four evening courses on Tuesday’s beginning on March 7, 14, 21 and 28 at 202 W Main St. Warsaw. They all are from 6 p.m. to no later than 9 p.m. They each consist of at least two topics per evening with a break around the mid-point with finger foods. We have many topics lined and if you are interested please call the office at (574) 372-2340. You may pay per evening or the whole series and attend all or part of the courses. Again, please feel free to join us and bring a friend!
Put your garden boots away and plan on attending one of these upcoming garden related events!