6 Tips for Putting Your Garden to Bed for the Winter

With summer coming to a rapid close, its time to start thinking about winterizing your garden. Fall temperatures often take a toll on fruits and vegetables. However, the key to smoothly transition your garden is to focus on preventative care and removing foliage that is not conducive to future growth. For example, recycling fallen leaves from trees and using them as mulch in your garden is one of the easiest ways to protect your soil.

Here are 6 tips for putting your garden to bed for winter:

1. Out with the old

The very first thing that all gardeners need to do is to clear out all blackened stems and leaves from the garden. Dead or decomposing foliage can harbor eggs from insects, which will lead to larger issues if left unattended. Also, disease pathogens can harbor if unwanted foliage is not properly removed. In addition, here is a helpful tip for Perennial lovers! If you wish to condition your soil during the winter, composting dead debris is actually an organic method of conditioning for your Perennials. With this method, you will save money and maximize your resources!

2. In with the new

Diversity is encouraged when considering organic matter for your soil protection and soil aggregation. Blanketing your garden in mulch or compost protects your soil from the weather elements while advocating growth beneath the soil.The most common source of Nitrogen for soil is manure. Livestock manure is the richest in all nutrients necessary for plant growth. However, use this form of organic matter with discretion when harvesting leafy vegetables or root crops due to the potential to contaminate your plants or vegetables.

3. Build a fortress

Another main factor in winterizing your garden is to protect it with physical barriers. This will house the materials needed to protect or nurture your garden, trees, and roses. In regards to roses, a burlap bag filled with mulch will enclose your rose bushes protecting them from the elements that will rob them of their growth potential. Tree care is very similar, but requires stakes or wire to add more foundation to the enclosure. This protects the bark on the younger trees and promotes growth. Lastly, building a small barrier around your garden will aid in keeping “creepy crawlers” from damaging your healthy plants.

4. Reap what you sow

It is also a great idea to consider sowing the vegetable seeds that you would like to see harvested for the fall! Things such as beet seeds, carrot seeds, and lettuce bring large harvests when seeds are sown during this time of year. Keep in mind, shade is necessary for your cole crop transplants. Therefore, when sowing these seeds location is very important.

5. Then there were annuals

For the annuals in your garden, polyspun garden fabric is an awesome protectant in the harsh winter months. This fabric is used to shield flowers from frost. Frost has the potential to harm flowers that are overly exposed. Therefore, it is not necessary to blanket your annuals in a polyspun fabric until the actual threat of frost. Now is also a good time to plant new annuals so that you can watch them bloom into healthy beautiful flowers during the winter months.

6. What about perennials?!

We all want hardier perennials. Well, the best way to achieve that and winterize your perennials is to grow lean plants. Lean plants are conditioned by the fertilizer used. By only using the fertilizer that is necessary, opposed to fertilizer with unrecognizable elements will aid in the growth of perennials. The fertilizer used also has a very strong baring on your perennials ability to endure colder climates during the winter. Last, but certainly not least it is imperative to ensure that your perennials are not in an area of soggy soil. If you do find your perennials in moist or soggy soil it is best to add a form of organic matter to the soil for drainage improvement.

Picture by Judy Dean

By Shondell Varcianna

September 18, 2015