Garden goes into winter mode

As Jocelyne Sewell puts her garden to bed for the winter, she is already dreaming of next spring and the gardening joy that will bring

The first snowfall has hit the North Okanagan, but hardy plants like cyclamen are still peeking out.

The first snowfall has hit the North Okanagan, but hardy plants like cyclamen are still peeking out.

As you read this, there are only two weeks left before the first day of winter and the days will be getting longer. Not that we will see a difference for some time, but for me it is always a happy thought.

I finally got around to get my garden into winter mode. I took a last count on Dec. 1 and I found 29 plants with flowers still open and looking good. It has to be a record for me. One of my big oriental poppies has a large bud ready to open but I doubt that anything will happen.

I had hoped to see the globe artichokes in bloom but I was late transplanting them and they made some fantastic plants and I will try to overwinter them by cutting them and covering the crowns with a big layer of mulch. I grew one plant in a pot so maybe this one will survive the winter in the greenhouse. Just in case, I have more seeds and will start them earlier next spring.

Until the early part of December, I had enough greens in the garden for fresh salad on a regular basis. I transplanted some cilantro and lettuce and maybe I can get them to grow in a sunny window if I can manage to move some of the other plants.

All together, I picked more than 50 bags of leaves this fall which got all shredded and they all got used to mulch and protect some plants over winter. A few bags ended in the greenhouse on top of the pots overwintering there. One little pile is left by the compost which will be used over winter. I don’t have anything to complain about the month of November (this is a first), even the rain. The mild temperature we experienced gave me lots of time to put all my stuff away so I will be ready to start as soon as the weather permits in the spring.

This is the time we can rest a bit and look through seed catalogues and make plans for next year. Make a map of your garden and write down what went right or wrong during the growing season. If you keep a record, you can always go back to it and change things around. It is nice to have it on paper as the memory sometimes fades. I have records called “Day to day in the garden.” At the end of the day, I jot down what happened that specific day in the garden, what I planted or harvested, the sun or rain, the first bloom on the plants, the first harvest, etc. With the computer it is easy to find what I am looking for when I need to. It makes a good resolution for next year and easy to keep.

This is my last column for 2016. I will be back in January. At this time, I would like to wish a very peaceful and thankful Christmas to everyone. In this season of joy, don’t forget the less fortunate. As in other years, St. James School will be the site of a “Together for Christmas” dinner for everyone wishing to take part in this community event.

On this special day of Christmas, may the light of baby Jesus shine in your heart and every day of your life.

For more information: 250-558-4556 or

Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast in the North Okanagan and member of Okanagan Gardens & Roses Club. Her column appears every other Wednesday.




Vernon Morning Star