Have you yet remembered to prepare your garden for winter?
Your yard is often forgotten about over the winter, as you head indoors instead and leave the garden until the weather improves. However, it’s important to some preparation for your garden for the winter to protect it. Thus, it will be ready for you to enjoy again when the warmer temperatures return.
Tackling these little tasks now will simplify the workload come springtime. Here’s a handy to-do list.
8 Hacks to Prepare the Garden for Winter
1 – Clean the gutters.
Gutter cleaning is important before the bad weather hits. If the gutters are blocked with leaves, twigs and other debris, then they won’t be able to properly drain water away from your roof. If they get too full, you could get water damage in your home and water overflowing into your garden.
2 – Clear out dead or dying plants.
Old plants look untidy and can also attract pests and funguses into the garden. Cut back spent plants to earth level or dig out anything that has died to keep your garden looking neat, and giving you space to grow new plants later on.
3 – Remove invasive weeds.
If you’ve been battling weeds like bindweed over the summer, now is a great time to deal with it. Dig it out and burn them. Don’t just shift these plants onto the compost heap as they can continue to grow here and end up choking more of your plants.
4 – Prepare your soil.
Most people do this in the spring. However, late autumn is a great time to get your soil in good condition. Dig in enrichers like manure, compost, bone meal or rock phosphate. Doing this early gives this addition the time that it needs to break down and add nutrients to your soil. Cover the bed with sheet plastic to protect the soil from rain.
5 – Plant cover crops.
Cover crops like rye or clover help to prevent soil erosion, break up compacted areas and increase the organic matter in your plant beds. These crops can also add nutrients to the soil. Clover and field peas can be good to prepare a bed for vegetables. Plant your cover crops about a month before the first killing frost is due.
6 – Prune perennials.
Some perennial plants benefit from a fall pruning. Focus your attention on plants including fennel, rosemary, thyme, sage, asparagus, and rhubarb. Remove spent or crossing canes to help control the plants and get them ready to grow again in the springtime.
7 – Divide and plant bulbs.
Spring bulbs will have died back by now but later flowerers may still be active. When the last bulbs have finished, dig up and divide any plants that were crowded or straggling while they were growing. Dig 4 to 8 inches away from the growing stalk, loosening the soil carefully. Lift the bulb gently and separate bulblets for immediate replanting somewhere else in the garden. Replant your spring bulbs, ready for next year.
8 – Harvest your compost.
Many gardeners ignore the compost heap over the cold months of the winter, but this can be a missed opportunity. Material that you composted over the summer is ready to be used in the garden now. The rich material is great to top up your garden beds, help deficient soils and fertilize your lawn to keep everything healthy over the winter. Clearing out this compost makes way for a new batch. Build up the heap with leaves, straw or kitchen scraps, and you’ll have a new batch ready for spring.
9 – Store your garden hoses
Don’t forget to store away your garden hoses. Disconnect hoses from the water source. Start at one end and push any remaining moisture along the entire length until all water pushes out the opposite end. Taking this measure will protect your hose from splitting due to the freezing of water molecules inside of it.
The Bottom Line: Take Time to Prepare the Garden for Winter
While it’s tempting to head indoors and snuggle in next to the fireplace, take the time out of an afternoon to prepare the garden for winter. You’ll enjoy one last day in the garden before the snow flies…and that time is priceless to a gardener.