Preparing Your Garden for Winter, How to Do It Like A Pro
Preparing garden for winter is important if you don’t want to have Herculean gardening tasks when spring comes. After abundant activities your garden has been through from summer, there will be so much left to do to tidy up.
This article covers all the necessary gardening steps before winter sets in. The steps are simple so you don’t have to be a professional gardener to follow.
How to Prepare Your Garden for The Winter
#1 Clean up your Garden
Uproot all dead and dried plants. Leaving the dead plants will harbor disease-causing organisms. Slugs and snails will feast on a dead organic matter; they will damage your seedlings when they proliferate.
Remove all weeds. The weeds have the ability to seed rapidly during winter. When spring comes, you’ll be surprised with a hundred weeds if you don’t remove them now.
Rake all the scattered leaves and store it. These leaves can be used for mulch or compost. You won’t have a supply of dried leaves in winter so take advantage of the fallen leaves.
Do not add diseased leaves and plants to your compost because they will spread the diseases to the soil and to other plants. Let them be collected by the municipal garbage collector or you can burn them.
Do not remove all plants. Leave a few to provide shelter and food for overwintering birds and beneficial insects. Plants with large flowers like purple coneflowers, sunflowers, and zinnias are ideal for butterflies and bees. Echinacea and Rudbeckia are great for bird food.
#2. Protect garden beds using cover crops
When you leave your soil bare during winter, you are endangering it from erosion and loss of nutrients. You can protect the soil by planting cover crops.
Planting cover crops before winter will improve soil fertility. It will also protect your garden from cool-season weeds and prevent soil erosion. All of these will ensure that you have the best seedbed when spring comes.
Examples of cover crops that survive the winter are winter wheat, hairy vetch, crimson clover, and winter rye. For northern states, winter rye and hairy vetch are ideal.
#3. Repair greenhouses
It is important to repair greenhouses and other structures in your garden before winter sets in. If you fail to fix problems before it snows, it will become worse.
Replace any broken parts. Check that hinges are working well. Pour oil on all moving metal parts.
#4. Add compost and mulch
Remove the old mulch from your garden beds. After the beds are clean, add 1-2 inches of compost. Then top it up with a thin layer of mulch.
The mulch will prevent weeds from growing. It will also disintegrate throughout the winter to add nutrients to your soil so they’re ready for planting when spring comes.
#5. Prune perennials
Perennials like Bearded Iris, Blackberry Lily, and Columbine are best pruned before winter so that new leaves can sprout out better after the cold season. These plants don’t handle snow well. They’ll thrive better without their leaves during winter.
#6. Clean and oil your tools
Your tools have done hard work during summer. Before storing them, it is important to clean and oil them so they’ll be ready for garden work when winter is over.
Never store your tools wet. This will cause the tools to rust and will lessen the life of your tools. Wash the tools to remove soil and other debris then thoroughly wipe them dry.
Even when they’re clean, metal tools are still prone to rust. To protect your tools from rust, wipe them with oil using a cloth. Apply a thin coating of oil on all the metal surfaces of your tools.
#7. Wrap Up
Fall is not a time to relax from your garden work. Though the labor is not as tedious during summer, you still have to do them to ensure that your garden is in its best condition for the next planting season.
Preparing your garden for winter is all about cleaning up but leaving necessary plants for beneficial insects to survive. Protective measures for your soil, gardening equipment, and tools are also important to settle before winter.
Did you find this tutorial useful? Let me know what you think in the comment section.