While autumn is a beautiful and colourful time of year, it’s also a warning that winter is just around the corner. Before we turn that corner, now is the time to get your garden ready for it. Here are a few simple things you should do now so that your garden is prepared to make it through the cold and be ready to go come springtime.
Clean it Up
Have rotting and spent plants sitting in your garden? Now is the time to clean them up and get rid of them. Not only will this make your garden look nicer, but it will also improve its health.
Those old, rotting plants can harbor pests and diseases, and you don’t want that sitting and ruminating in your garden throughout the winter.
Clear out all of the encroaching weeds that you haven’t dealt with over the gardening season. Make sure you dig them out entirely because they will come back if you don’t (they aren’t called invasive for nothing).
Get the Soil Ready for Next Year
This means spreading manure or compost throughout the garden. Mixing in the amendments now gives them the whole winter season to break down, work into the soil, and enrich it. It also means you’ve done a bunch of the work already and can get to planting faster once spring rolls back around.
You can also wait until the ground has just started to freeze and spread a thick layer of mulch and shredded leaves. What this does is keep the temperature more consistent for the plants and, more importantly, their roots. The constant cycles of freezing and thawing throughout the winter can have adverse effects on plant roots. The mulch works to avoid those problems.
Bulbs and Perennials
Any tender bulbs that aren’t going to survive the cold should be dug up, dried, and properly stored inside. Now is also a good time to do any pruning and dividing of your perennials.
However, some plants prefer a fall pruning (fennel, asparagus, sage, rosemary, thyme) while for others, it is better to wait until spring (raspberries, blueberries). So, make sure you research your specific plants before going full steam ahead with the pruning.
When it comes to winterizing your garden, one should heed the wisdom of, “don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” Think ahead and think back. What did you have to do before you got going last year that could be taken care of right now? You’ll thank me next spring!