GET YOUR GARDEN READY FOR WINTER
Autumn and into winter is an unwinding time in the garden, but it’s likewise a window when you should get your garden ready for winter. You can get a running start on next year’s gardening season. Get ahead of the curve now, so when spring fever hits, your to-do list will be a little shorter and your garden will be a little more orderly, healthy, and efficient.
Get your garden ready for winter now while, maybe where you live the very first frosts are still way off. To get your garden ready for winter now still gives you time to plant cool weather crops, lettuces, and other greens, particularly if you stick to the fastest maturing ranges like arugula and mesclun mix. Onions and garlic planted this time of year will be ready for harvest a couple months earlier next year versus planting them in early spring. Besides vegetables, there are a variety of other things that are typically planted in autumn/winter.
Perennials, Shrubs, Vines, and Trees
Now is the ideal time to plant hardy scrubs, perennials and woody plants, including edibles and ornamentals. The ground still holds the warmth of summertime, motivating the roots to grow, even while the leaves are starting to drop. Plus, the ground is typically soft and dry, making it much easier to plant than in the wet, mushy earth of early spring. Make certain to cut apart and spread out the roots if they are securely bound from their time in the pot.
Love those bulbs that turn up and flower in early spring while a lot of plants are still waking up from their winter slumber? The only way for this is to plant them now. This applies to tulips, daffodils, irises, crocuses, snowdrops, and many others. A lot of are planted at a depth of 3 to 4 inches, but inspect the package, as requirements for individual species differs. A lot of planted bulbs this time of year may need a cold winter to catalyse the flowering process, but gardeners in warmer parts of the world can deceive them into blooming by leaving them in the freezer for 6 to 8 weeks prior to planting.
Cover and Prepare
Many farmers and garden enthusiasts grow cover crops in autumn and through the winter to prevent erosion and return nutrients to the soil. The most important group of cover crops are legumes (bean household plants, like clover, and vetch), which transform nitrogen from the atmosphere into a form plants can utilise. The nutrients are then readily available for your spring crops.
Once you’ve planted everything you can, it’s time to prepare any empty beds that are left so they’re ready to go come spring time. This implies eliminating all weeds, tilling up the soil, and mixing in amendments (like compost) to develop a fertile base for next year’s crops. It’s much better to apply compost in autumn than at planting time in the spring, as it has time to break down and launch its nutrients into the soil.
Another important task in getting your garden ready for winter is to cover less hardy plants and scrubs and cover the beds with mulch – so heavy winter season rains don’t clean the loose soil away. Mulch likewise adds raw material to the soil as it decays – creating that loose, crumbly, sponge-like texture that gardeners pursue. You can also use straw purchased from a local garden centre or farm shop, however the best mulch for garden beds is the leaves that are swirling on the ground all around you. Rake them up and spread them over the beds, the deeper the better– consider it as bring up the covers for a long winter season’s rest.
Last Tasks Before Snow Arrives
In the flurry of gardening activity that consumes our lives in early spring, it’s easy to forget what the garden appeared like the previous year. Many perennials, for instance, are slow to emerge from their roots and giddy gardeners are prone to planting right over them. That’s why seasoned garden enthusiasts like to label their plants in late fall prior to they disappear under a blanket of snow.
You can do this the old-fashioned way with a Sharpie and wooden stake (or any variety of other more imaginative labelling approaches), or you can just snap images of your beds and draw a bubble map of the garden right on to the image. That way you’ll understand where you have any voids to fill and where there might be a sensitive, late-emerging lily.
Finally, anything that has liquid in it needs to be tended to prior to freezing weather hits. Shut off the watering system and drain hose pipes by opening all the valves once the water supply is off. Drain all pipes and garden tubes – if you have the space, store them in a shed for the winter season. The fuel from petrol-powered machines such as lawnmowers can also be drained, or you can merely spike it with a fuel stabiliser to keep it from degrading while not in use. Run the devices for few minutes after including the stabiliser so it distributes throughout the fuel lines and carburettor.
Now sit back and wait for spring!
Do you go through the above precesses to get your garden ready for winter? Are there other top tips you have? Let us know your thoughts and ideas by leaving your comments below!
Guest Post and images by Ernie Smyth.