It is that time of year again. Preparing your garden for winter can sometimes be a little depressing but it doesn’t have to be. Even with little experience with gardening, you should still be able to prepare your garden for winter with minimal difficulty.
The following are the top 11 tips for preparing your garden for winter:
Harvest Fruit, Vegetables and Store Them
Once you have picked your last tomato or final apple, it is time to figure out a plant for winter keeping. If you have a freezer, then store all your harvests there. If not, it is time to consider investing in one – it will make preparing for winter much easier! You can also preserve some of your harvests by pickling or bottling.
Weed Your Garden
Weeding your garden is an important step that will help keep pests away and promote healthy
growth when spring arrives. Plus, weeding is good exercise! If you have large areas of weeds
that need removing, consider renting a lawn mower with a bagger attachment so you can easily
collect them without bending over repeatedly (or hire someone else to do it). For smaller areas,
try using a hoe instead — be sure to wear gloves so as not to cut yourself on any
sharp seeds or thorns accidentally.
It is also vital that you remove any diseased plants from your garden. Do not compost them, as
they could spread their disease to other plants. Instead, dispose of them in the trash. You can also
pull up dead plants by their roots and throw them away — do not compost them.
Before you do anything, have your soil tested by a professional agronomist. This will allow you
to know what nutrients your plants, need and how much fertilizer they require.
Add Organic Matter to Your Soil
Adding organic matter to the soil is a great way to prepare it for winter. Organic matter such as
compost or manure will help improve drainage and increase moisture retention while reducing
compaction from heavy rains or snowfall. Organic matter also provides food for beneficial
microorganisms in the soil that help break down plant waste into nutrients.
If you do not have animal manure, try using green manure cover crops instead — these are plants
grown for their ability to improve soil quality by adding organic matter when turned under after
harvest (or before).
Plant or Cover Bare Soil with Mulch
In the fall, grow a cover crop of cool-season grasses and legumes to prevent erosion and improve
soil health. The best choices for your region are legumes (such as clover) and grasses that grow
well in moderate temperatures, such as rye grass or fescue. The plants will help control weeds
and prevent soil erosion.
Cut Back Perennials
Fall is the time to cut back your perennials so they will not bloom again in the spring. This
will help them spend all their energy hardening up for winter instead of flowering again. If
you leave them alone; they may bloom anyway due to warm temperatures during the winter
Prune Trees and Shrubs
Suppose you have large trees or shrubs in your yard; it is important to prune them properly
before the ground freezes, they do not become damaged by winter weather conditions.
Pruning is essential for developing young and mature trees and shrubs properly.
It helps promote new growth that will replace old woody materials when they die back during
cold weather months or when they are cut back in spring after dormancy ends. Pruning also
allows sunlight to reach lower limbs and encourages air circulation beneath larger canopies,
which helps prevent diseases from taking root on susceptible plants beneath the canopy edge
where there is less air movement (like powdery mildew on roses).
Plant spring-flowering bulbs in the fall so they will bloom when the weather warms up. Planting
them this late is not ideal because temperatures are more relaxed, and there is less time for them
to grow before winter sets in. But if you are going to plant them, anyway, consider burying them
in the sand to help them survive cold temperatures until spring arrives.
Turn off Your Irrigation System
If you have a sprinkler system, now is the time to turn it off. Winterizing your sprinkler system
will help prevent freezing pipes and water damage during winter.
Clean All Tools and Equipment
It is essential to clean all tools, containers, and equipment before putting them away for the
season. Use a sanitizing solution, such as a 10 percent bleach solution or anti-bacterial spray, on
everything used in the garden — from shovels and trowels to pots and plant tags. It will
help protect your tools from rusting and keep plants from getting sick from bacteria on dirty