Preparing Your Garden Fo The Winter

Some people believe that when the weather starts getting colder and the

leaves start to fall, it is time to put away the gardening tools and wait

until next spring to work on their garden again. Wrong. Winter is an

important time to maintain your garden’s health and assure yourself a good

crop for next year. You may think that might take to long to prepare your

garden, but the truth is that it takes less than one day to prepare your

garden for the upcoming winter.

When the nighttime temperatures drop to less than forty-five degrees

Fahrenheit for more than four days in a row, or frost is forecasted for

your area (usually around late October or November) you know its time to

begin preparing your garden. You should begin by evaluating your garden

design, check which plants grew well in the past season, and which plants

did not do well. Fall is a good time to decide which plants will remain in

you garden next year, and which ones should go.

It is also a good time to decide which new plants you want to grow. To

make your garden more colorful and healthy, be sure only to plant the more

hardy plants during the fall so that they can withstand the winter. Some

plants that will do fine being planted in fall are: rudbeckia, Aster

Novi-belgii, Anemone Japonica, panicle hyandea, endive, escarole, and

Brussels sprouts. You can find all of these and more in gardening

magazines or your local nursery.

After you have finished this you should begin cleaning up your garden.

Begin by pulling out weeds that may have cropped up, and raking fallen

leaves. Weeds and rotten leaves can carry insects and diseases that might

be harmful to your garden. You should also rid your garden of spent annual

plants, and harvest your vegetables and other plants that cannot withstand

the winter weather. After fall has come and gone, the leaves will be off

your trees and you can see the rotten branches. Trimming off the unwanted

branches from your trees isn’t necessary to your gardens health, but may

help later on by not dropping branches on your plants and not blocking too

much of the sun.

If you have younger trees you should consider wrapping them and supporting

them with stakes to help them survive the winter wind and cold. Putting

mulch over your garden for the winter can be a helpful way to protect

plants from sudden temperature changes and heavy snow. For mulch you can

use about five inches of shredded bark, pine needles, or a variety of

other materials. You have to be careful not to mulch too early, because

some insects may still be alive and able to take shelter in it for the

winter.

Once you are finished with your gardening tools you should clean them and

make sure they are in a safe place where they won’t rust and you know

where they’ll be for next year. Before winter comes you should always set

out slug repellent, as slugs are one of the worst bugs to have in your

garden. If you have a pool or fountain in your garden, be sure to take out

any fish that you have in them and bring them inside. There’s nothing

sadder than a fish frozen in a block of ice.

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