This year’s been a doozy. I can’t believe we’re at the point of thinking about Pumpkin Spice Lattes and cooler temperatures. With the fall comes signs that our gardens are starting to show signs of fatigue and wear—dropping leaves and telling us the season is changing. So, with the change of season it is time to put your garden to bed for the winter. Preparing your garden for winter is important. Taking a few steps now in preparing your garden for winter will make a big difference come spring!
Back to Basics: Preparing Garden for Winter
“Winter season is the time to add color, fragrance, and vibrancy in your garden. It is time to say goodbye to the fall season and welcome winter. Start preparing your garden for winter by following these simple tips. ”
Clean Up Rotted and Dying Plants
The first step that one must do while preparing garden for winter is to clean up the dying and rotten plants. You know the ones — they didn’t do well but you kept them, hoping they would. Or those who have just given all the blooms they’re going to give and now look tired and worn. Especially if you have old plants with disease or fungus, you’ll want to make sure you get rid of them before winter. If you’re sure they’re disease and pest-free, bury them back into the earth so you can add some organic goodness to your soil for next year’s bounty. It’s all cyclical and getting rid of the dying helps make way for next year.
Even if you’ve been keeping up with the obvious weeds, you may have left some vines or grasses that ‘looked’ ok because they were green. Get rid of them. Completely. When you’re preparing your garden for winter, digging out invasive weeds means you’ll have less to deal with next year when they’re sprouting in places you never knew you had them!
While preparing garden for winter start from the basic, that is soil. Many gardeners get their soil ready for spring and summer planting in the spring, but if you’re really wanting to get the most out of next year’s garden, bulking your soil up this fall is the way to do it. Add nutrients in the form of compost, manure, bone meal, kelp or rock phosphate as your climate calls for. This lets the soil soak those things in, break them down and become biologically active over the fall and winter—leading to better start-off soil in the spring. Turn your soil now so it’ll be less overwhelming in the spring. Consider covering with a sheet cover to keep the nutrients in and not vulnerable to fall and winter precipitation.
Preparing Your Garden for Winter
Consider Fall Gardening For Better Soil
You most likely won’t have the same gorgeous turnout you did in the spring or summer (though you’d be surprised at how many beautiful fall perennials you have!). Still, if you do plant in the fall, you can add flowers that will add different things back to the soil. Realize the first frost will probably do a number to anything you plant, so prepare for that and be ready to remove before winter fully sets in. Still, consider some one-season-wonders to add to your soil and give you some pleasure too.
Divide, Cut and Conquer! Yeah required for
Fall is when you want to trim most of your perennials, but you’ll want to be sure you check to see each plant’s needs. You definitely want to take care of your hydrangea, but you want to be careful with your roses. You may want to wait until spring when forsythia is blooming. Blueberries and raspberries also still pull nourishment in during the late fall/early winter, so just be sure to check with each plant for the best time. Typically herbs and vegetables need pruning at this time of the year, and you most likely have lots of bulbs you can dig up and divide at this time as well. If you dug up your tulips, daffodils or crocuses before, now is when you’ll want to put them back into the ground.
Keep Your Garden Covered
While preparing the garden for winter, keep in mind the harshness of this weather. Make sure you do a good final mulching to help prevent water loss and soil erosion during the winter. Mulching also helps keep weeds to a minimum and allows your soil to transition to the cold—the freezing and thawing of earth. Before you add the mulch, add fertilizer. A nice thick layer of mulch will regulate soil temperature as well as moisture balance. It can protect those bulbs from harsh effects of winter. Not to mention, it just adds to a finished look of a winter garden.
This is also a great time to take a look at bird feeders and other garden accessories that may need replacing, cleaning or just removed for the winter. Preparing your garden for winter means that you’ll be able to start fresh in the spring, and cleaning and replacing the accessories for your garden now will make it even easier next year. Once the garden is ready make a list of flowers, and vegetables you wish to grow. Learn how to grow a vegetable garden
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