Gardening in the Winter

It is common for some people to put away their gardening tools and wait until the spring to get back to work on their gardens when the weather cools and the leaves fall. Wrong. Maintaining the health of your garden during the winter is essential to ensuring a successful harvest the following year. To prepare your garden for the upcoming winter, it only takes one day to get the job done.

You should begin preparing your garden when overnight temperatures fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit for more than four consecutive days or when frost is expected in your area (typically in late October or November). Start by assessing your current garden layout and noting which plants thrived and which didn’t last year. Your garden can be pruned in the fall so that you know exactly what you’ll keep and what you’ll get rid of.

Also, now is a great time to decide what new plants you want to grow. Planting only winter-hardy plants in the fall will help to ensure that your garden remains vibrant and healthy throughout the winter months. Fall planting is ideal for rudbeckia, aster, anemones, panicle hyandeas, endives, escaroles, and Brussels sprouts. You’ll be able to find all of these and more in gardening publications or at your neighborhood nursery.

After that, you can begin to tidy up your outdoor space. The first step is to remove any weeds that have taken root and to rake up any leaves that may have fallen. Insects and disease-carrying pathogens can hide in weeds and decaying leaves, putting your landscape at risk. In addition, you should clear your garden of old annuals and harvest any vegetables or other plants that will not make it through the winter. You’ll be able to see the decaying branches of your trees after the leaves fall off in the fall. You don’t need to remove unwanted branches from your trees to keep your plants safe and prevent them from obstructing too much sunlight, but doing so could save you money in the long run.

Younger trees can be protected from the winter wind and cold by being wrapped in burlap and staked. You can protect your plants from extreme temperature changes and heavy snowfall by covering your garden with mulch throughout the winter. Put down five inches of mulch like shredded bark or pine needles, or anything else you’d like. Because some insects are still alive and may be able to hibernate in the mulch, you must be careful not to mulch too early.

Cleaning and storing your gardening tools so that they won’t rust and that you’ll remember where they are for next year is an important part of gardening. Slugs are one of the worst bugs to have in your garden, so always put out slug repellent before the winter. Remove any fish from your landscape’s pool or fountain and bring them indoors. Seeing a fish trapped in the middle of a block of ice is heartbreaking.

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