Winter is in full swing, and with it the challenge of keeping walkways clear of snow and ice. Whenever salts or other de-icing chemicals are used to assist in the ice removal, special caution should be taken to reduce the damage these agents can cause to the surrounding vegetation. Salts are toxic to plants when they dissolve in water because sodium ions replace the phosphorous and potassium in the soil. Rock salt also absorbs the water in the soil, taking it from the roots. This causes stress and dehydration for the roots of surrounding foliage. Salt also reduces the cold hardiness of plants making them even more susceptible to frost damage.
Growing vegetables in the winter may not be something that normally crosses your mind, especially in colder climates like northern Utah. However, many people don’t realize their garden, if cared for correctly, could yield produce until Halloween, or possibly even Thanksgiving, without much extra effort.