Do you know how to prepare your garden for the winter? There are a few simple chores and they can be done in a day. Get a headstart on the spring.
Summer is over. Time to pack away the gardening tools and wait until spring before you think about ….
Wait! That’s not true at all.
Winter’s actually an important time to maintain your garden’s health and get ready for a great crop next year.
Don’t worry that it will take a long time to prepare your garden – it should take less than a day to get ready for winter.
When night temperatures drop to less than 45F/7C, or frost has been forecasted for your area, you know it’s time to start getting ready.
Around here, we get the garden ready a wee bit before it’s time to switch the summer tires for winter tires.
The reminder for car tires is – when it’s 7 at best, give your summers a rest’, so we’ll modify that – When it’s 7 at night, get your garden set right! (That’s 7 CELSIUS … My American friends can stick 45 in there instead … if you wait until its 7F, it’s too late.)
Your first step is looking over your garden design, checking what plants grew well in the past season, and which plants didn’t do well. This is a great time to decide which ones will remain in your garden next year and which should go.
It is also a good time to decide which new plants you want to grow.
To make your garden more colorful and healthy, only plant the more hardy plants during the fall so that they can withstand the winter. Of course this only matters if you can grow plants in the winter!
After you have finished this you should begin cleaning up your garden.
Begin by pulling out weeds that may have cropped up, and raking fallen leaves. Weeds and rotten leaves can carry insects and diseases that might be harmful to your garden.
You should also rid your garden of spent annual plants, and harvest your vegetables and other plants that cannot withstand the winter weather.
After fall has come and gone, the leaves will be off your trees and you can see the rotten branches.
Trimming off the unwanted branches from your trees isn’t necessary to your gardens health, but may help later on by not dropping branches on your plants and not blocking too much of the sun.
A few years ago, even though we knew a tree was dying, we decided to leave it until the spring. In the middle of a big winter storm, the tree came down with a crash! We were lucky that it fell away from the buildings and didn’t damage anything, but we learned an important lesson. Take care of dead branches and trees in the fall.
If you have younger trees you should consider wrapping them and supporting them with stakes to help them survive the winter wind and cold.
Putting mulch over your garden for the winter can be a helpful way to protect plants from sudden temperature changes and heavy snow, and it can also keep your soil from drying out.
For mulch you can use about five inches of shredded bark, pine needles, or a variety of other materials. You have to be careful not to mulch too early, though, because some insects may still be alive and able to take shelter in it for the winter.
Once you are finished with your gardening tools you should clean them and make sure they are in a safe place where they won’t rust and you know where they’ll be for next year.
Before winter comes you should always set out slug repellent, as slugs are one of the worst bugs to have in your garden. There ARE natural ways to deal with slugs, so don’t feel as though you have to resort to chemicals.
If you have a pool or fountain in your garden, be sure to take out any fish that you have in them and bring them inside.
There’s nothing sadder than a fish frozen in a block of ice.0