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I Have Some Seeds Whose Directions Said To Leave Them…

Mel Asked

I have some seeds whose directions said to leave them in the ground during winter but I don’t know if I’m supposed to mulch the area. Will they sprout if I put mulch over them?

I don’t know what to do with the Russian sage, wormwood, false indigo, and chrysler imperial rose we have. It is too late to prune them? How much pruning do they need?

Is it too late to seed lemon balm and spearmint in the ground now?

I would like to prep the ground for spring sowing. With all the leaves we have right now, we’d have perfect compost. Do I need to remove the grass? Can I can just dump soil and leaves over them?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Mel in Kentucky: You do have several questions so let’s get to it. Yes, you can mulch over the top of your seeds. Mulch will help keep the soil moist and warm as well as keep the weeds down. It is also nice in terms of aesthetics but be sure it is no more than 2-3 inches thick, otherwise this can create an environment for insects and disease to thrive. Your Russian sage can be pruned now or during the late winter/early spring. It should be cut back to about 6 inches. Some gardeners like the silvery color it has during the winter months but when to prune it is entirely up to you. Wormwood (Artemesia) is best pruned back in the winter or early spring before new growth begins. You can cut back your false indigo (Baptisia) now. Both the Artemesia and Baptisia should be cut back to the ground. Your rose should be pruned during the winter months while it is dormant. It can be pruned to control the size and shape, but it is best not to remove more than one-third of the size of the shrub each year. It would be best if you wait to seed lemon balm and spearmint in the spring. As for prepping your beds for planting next spring, there are a couple of different ways to go about it. First, you need to kill the grass so you are not fighting it in the beds for years to come. You can lay a thick pile of newspaper down and then the leaves/soil on top of the newspaper. This will kill the grass and as long as the leaves are fully composted you can work them into the soil and the area should be ready to plant in the spring. Spraying the area with Round-up or any product that has glyphosate as its main ingredient will kill the grass. It will take a couple of weeks but then you can add the compost and soil mixture for planting next spring.

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