Preparing Your Garden for Winter

Preparing Your Garden for Winter
Preparing your garden for winter

Preparing your garden for winter

With the approaching onset of winter many gardeners believe it’s time to hang up the tools for the year and wait for the following spring before they have to work on their garden again. This is far from the truth. It’s very important to ensure that your garden is going to be healthy and ready to produce a great crop next year. The good news is that this winter preparedness can take less than a day to complete. When the nighttime temperatures drop below forty-five degrees F for more than four days in a row, or if the chance of frost is in your local weather forecast (usually around late October or November) it’s time to begin preparing your garden. Start by evaluating your gardens design. While you probably know this you need to determine which plants grew well in the past season, and those that didn’t. Fall is the perfect time to decide which plants will remain in you garden next year, and which ones should go. This is also an ideal time to decide which new plants, if any, you may want to grow next spring. Once you’ve completed the above, your next action should be to clean up your garden plot. Remove any weeds that have cropped up and rake up any leaves that are scattered over the plot. Weeds and rotting leaves can harbor insects and diseases that could harm your garden. At the same time you should also remove any spent annuals and harvest any vegetables and other plants that can’t withstand winter weather. If there are any trees that overhang your garden area take note of any dead or dying limbs and remove these. This will stop them from dropping onto your plot and creating additional potential for disease and insects as well as saving you from having to pick them up before you begin gardening again next spring.
Don't forget to clean and prepare your gardening tools!

Don't forget to clean and prepare your gardening tools!

Any young trees you may have planted should be wrapped and supported by stakes to help them survive harsh winter conditions. Putting mulch over your garden can also help protect plants from sudden drops in temperature and/or heavy snow falls. A covering of around 5 inches should suffice but its’ not a bad idea to check with your local nursery to determine what you need for your local conditions. If you do apply mulch, don’t do it too early as insects may take shelter in it for the winter. You should also set out some slug pellets so they don’t invade your garden. If you have a water garden or pool with fish don’t forget to remove them and place them in an inside aquarium. There’s nothing sadder than fish frozen in a block of ice. The final things you need to take care of are your tools. Clean them thoroughly, dry them and cover any metal parts with a light coating of oil. If your tools have any rust on them this should be removed by a light sanding, brushing with a wire brush or, in extreme cases, using a drill with a wire brush attachment. Also make sure you sharpen any tools that need a good edge and put them in a safe and dry place for the winter. This way they’ll be ready for next spring. If you follow these simple tips, you’ll find that when the following season comes around your garden bed and tools should be ready to go.

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