How To Winterize Your Garden

It’s official: Winter is almost here, and with the holidays fast approaching why not use the remaining days of Fall to prepare your garden for colder weather?  We’ve compiled some top tips to make sure your garden is taken care of for Winter!

  • Cover budding plants.  To prevent any buds freezing (which can result in blemishes on the resulting flower or buds dropping altogether), cover buds and any open flowers with an old sheet.  You can also buy commercial frost covers for plants, but don’t be tempted to go for plastic: it will create an oven effect if it’s sunny!
  • Pull dead or dying plants.  Removing any diseased or dying plants before winter reduces risks of pests lingering in your garden to re-infect in Spring.  Make sure to bag up or burn these plants, don’t add them to your compost pile.  This is also a good time to pull unwanted weeds, too.
  • Re-use raked leaves.  Those deciduous leaves not only look pretty, they also provide vital nutrients for your plants.  Add them to your compost pile instead and spread 1-3 inches of compost over your garden to enrich the soil throughout the winter months.
  • Mulch it up!  While mulching is a great way to keep your plants cozy throughout winter, make sure not to do this step too early or you might end up with a family of mice moving in!  Wait until it gets good and cold before adding mulch to reduce the likelihood of unwanted holiday guests getting comfortable.
  • Water before a freeze.  Watching the weather?  If you know a freezing spell is approaching preempt it by watering first!  After a frost the ground is too hard to allow water to be absorbed by the plants, and will sit on top.
  • Prepare new areas of your garden.  If you have a new planting spot in mind for the Spring, cover it with a thick layer of mulch or heavy plastic to discourage weed growth.  It will make your planting go much quicker next year!

For more detailed tips on how to prepare specific plant types for the colder months, check out this article from Better Homes & Gardens.

Photo: Frank Heijligers

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