Tips to Prepare Your Garden for Winter
The changing weather is a sure sign that the winter months are fast approaching, the spring and the summer months were full of so much to do as many gardeners and plant growers across the country made those needed changes even for some that gave their gardens a makeover. Whether growing ornamental plants or edible crops on a small or wide scale there is no denying the time and hard work spent did not go without their rewards as we connect with nature giving a helping.
Now the colder months are almost here which means doing what’s needed to put our gardens to rest until the warmer season returns, this prepping or preparation will ensure that when the warmer months return our gardens will get off to a good start. But how do we prepare our gardens for this time of the year, if you want to find out how this is done continue reading.
11. Ways to Prepare Your Garden for the Winter Months
1. The Removal of Leaves
Fallen leaves can be a hiding place for garden insect pests to overwinter and emerge once the warmer months return, therefore ensure that all fallen leaves are removed. Leaves that are allowed to remain on the ground during winter time will become wet and matted which can encourage disease especially if a buildup of leaves is allowed to remain on the lawn’s surface.
The good news is those leaves can be used in other areas of your garden because leaves are a natural organic that provide nutrients for the soil, once leaves are removed locate them in your garden plant beds for example your flower bed and vegetable garden. Create a compost pile by adding fallen leaves or if you haven’t as yet consider building a compost pile.
2. Removing Weeds
The removal of weeds is a sure way to discourage garden insect pest from overwintering, during late fall as the colder months arrives garden pests will seek shelter not only in leaf litter but weeds as well therefore it is important to ensure that all weeds are removed. Because of the cold and moisture weeds will also encourage disease that can spread to garden plants.
Weeding can become a daunting task, but it’s a job that must be done, to make weed removal easier put together a schedule to tackle weeds also why not consider getting help with this job, a family member, a neighbor, or a friend may assist. This is also a great time for bonding, it will also help if you promise to provide lunch, based on the number of weeds to be removed. There are many tools that can be used to make your job easier, some of these tools are a hoe, a weeding kneel bench, a hand cultivator, a weeding and digging knife, a spade digging fork, a stand-up weeder, a steel handle hand garden tiller, etc…
3. The Removal of Dead and Disease Plants
Dead plants in a garden are not only an eyesore but can be a harbourage for insect pests, remove any plant that might be dead, disease plants can also negatively impact your garden by spreading to healthy plants these plants should be removed and properly disposed of as well.
It’s also important to remove plant parts that are diseased with a hand pruner, once you’re done sterilize your hand pruner with bleach and water because what you don’t want is to use a hand pruner that was used on plants that are diseased and then prune healthy plants before sterilizing that can spread disease to healthy plants.
4. Doing General Cleanup
Walk your landscape and garden area and remove any trash, and plant material, for example, fallen limbs, twigs, and branches. Ensure that your plant beds are clean as well. The reason for this is not only to give your garden a clean and polished look as you enter the winter months but also to discourage garden insect pests from overwintering. There we go again we are hearing these words often ( garden insect pests) because we can’t afford to give them a fighting chance during the winter months (overwintering) because garden insect pests will not give your garden plants a fighting chance ( insect infestation) once they emerge when the warmer season returns.
5. Amending Your Soil
Amending your garden soil during fall in preparation for the winter months is a great way to get those nutrients into the ground, why wait until spring? The moisture from the rain and the snow will soak nutrients into the soil in preparation for the warmer months. Adding the remainder of your compost from your compost bin is a great way to accomplish this while making room for fresh compost.
6. Keeping Debris Out of Your Pond
We can’t forget our ponds, during the fall and winter months leaves can fall or be blown or carried by the wind from nearby trees into ponds. A pond that is filled with the decomposition of leaves and other debris will become filthy with a foul odor and can block filters on the pump. To avoid this issue reach for a fine mesh net, Cover your entire pond with the fine netting material followed by using bricks to pin the net down so it doesn’t shift. Leaves that have fallen on the net can be collected and used in your garden plant bed or added to your compost bin.
7. The Addition of Mulch
Keep your plant’s roots warm and protected from the freezing ground by adding mulch, a 2-3 inch layer of mulch will insulate the top first inches of soil so that your plant’s root can be comfortable. Some mulches that can be used are wood chips, pine straws, shredded leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, etc..
8. Protect Garden Furniture
You have invested so much in your garden furniture and the last thing you want is for them to be ruined because of moisture settling that can lead to mould on your furniture including rust. If possible garden furniture can be removed and stored in your garage or shed until the winter months have passed or cover furniture with a strong waterproof covering if they are allowed to remain outdoors.
9. Winterize Your Water System
To avoid damage to your irrigation system or hose turn off the system because you don’t want the system to be on which can lead to freeze damage. Another option is to blast the entire system with an air compressor. In warmer climates, it is all a matter of disconnecting the system from a hose spigot and allowing the water to drain out.
10. Dig Up Tender Bulbs
Some bulbs cannot withstand freezing temperatures, these bulbs should be drugged up, remove the soil from bulbs now rap or pack blubs in newspaper and place them in a cool place that’s dark. Every other week check on your bulbs to ensure they don’t have fungus or mold.
11. Planting Bulbs for Spring
Now is a great time to plant spring bulbs, some of these blubs include snowdrops, pansies, tulips, bluebells, and daffodils, when the warmer season returns you will have an array of amazing colors.
Bonus Just for You
- Never place disease and other plant material into your compost
- Remember to keep all pruning tools clean, sterilized, and oil
- Before putting away all garden tools make sure they are clean and in working order
- If bird feeders are present remove old food that has been there for a while, and clean the bird feeder with a mixture of bleach, warm water, and dishliquid. Now thoroughly rinse the feeder with fresh water. Allow the birdfeeder to drip dry followed by adding fresh bird seeds
The final word on how to prep your garden for winter
Prepping your garden for the winter months will ensure that your garden bounces back as it awakes from its long winter nap, this preparation will get your garden off to a great start with the start of spring. These steps are so important and will pay off in big ways, if your desire is to ensure that your garden stays healthy and thriving then this guide has laid out proven methods that are so effective.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.