For those of us who live where winter is cold and the garden becomes a frozen patch of dirt, it may seem like there’s not much we can do. But properly preparing and maintaining your garden space before the ground freezes is just as important as any other garden chore. Preparing your garden for a long winter’s rest will help ensure that it has the best start possible next spring!
- First, if you haven’t done it already, remove all the dead annuals and vegetable plants. This is organic material that will be a great addition to the compost pile! (See composting tips in this post. )
2. If you have perennials that die back over winter, go ahead and prune them back. However, if the plant has an interesting structure or provides seeds for birds, like Echinacea and Rudbeckia, go ahead and leave them. Some perennials need the protection of their dead foliage over winter to keep the crowns from being damaged. So leave the butterfly weed, chrysanthemum and coral bells standing.
3. It may seem like a good idea to let dead leaves stay piled over the garden all winter. After all, they’ll turn into compost right? However, leaves can harbor fungal spores and unwanted insect eggs that will quickly infect your spring garden. It’s best to rake them up and let them compost in the bin or pile. If you know they’re infected, you should dispose of them off your property.
4. Late fall is a good time to take soil samples and send them to your local extension office for testing. If you need to add any amendments to the soil, you can apply them now along with a layer of compost. Next spring you’ll have beautiful, healthy soil!
5. Don’t forget to clean off all your garden tools. Once the dirt has been removed, wipe the metal parts with mineral oil and store them in the shed or garage.
6. Most likely you had some seeds left over from this year’s planting. Be sure to label them and store in a cool, dry place until spring.
This is the time of year when those lovely seed catalogs begin to arrive, giving us inspiration through the cold months ahead. As you find ideas, don’t forget to check www.Everwilde.com for unsurpassed quality and customer service!