The days are getting shorter, and the weather is getting colder. After months of planting, sowing, and harvesting, your garden is tired and ready for a nap. Winter is right around the corner, and it is time to put your garden to bed. Before you say goodnight, there are a few things that you can do in the garden now to help the next garden season go smoothly.
Here are four tips on prepping your garden for winter.
1. Cover Your Beds
Just as we bring out the warm blankets for those chilly nights, the garden will appreciate cover as well. First, pull out any leftover debris. Trim back perennials and cover them with mulch. This would include many herbs and fruit plants. Add an extra layer of mulch to fruit bushes and trees as well. Next, cover your vegetable garden beds with a heavy mulch. This will add an extra layer of warmth to your soil and choke out any early weeds that try to pop up in spring. Mulching now will also allow time for the mulch to begin to slowly break down, adding natural compost to your garden beds.
2. Start a Compost Pile
Fall is the perfect time to start a compost pile with all the extra leaves that have fallen to the ground. Find a small area close to your garden and start a small compost pile with leaves, dead plant debris from the garden and any left-over vegetable kitchen scraps. Leaves, plants (that are not diseased), old potting soil, grass clippings, fruit and vegetable peels/scraps, paper, cardboard, eggshells and more can all be added to the compost. Things that should NOT be added would be meat, oil, or dairy products. Keep adding to your compost pile throughout winter and when spring arrives you will have free compost to use in your garden beds.
3. Clean and Store Tools
Late fall is the perfect time to gather all the lost, forgotten, and misplaced garden tools. Gather your tools, gloves, and other garden staples like stakes and cages and move them under cover. This is also a good time to gather all the scattered pots and seed trays and give them a quick wash before storing them away for winter as well. Take time to clean them up and organize them. Take note of any tools or supplies that may have broken throughout the season that will need replaced. Often you can find garden tools and supplies on clearance as they fall out of season. Also, don’t forget pull up any water hoses or sprinkler systems that could bust in freezing temperatures.
4. Take a Quick Inventory of your Seed Supply
While gardeners look forward to the new year and all the seed catalogs that will be arriving in the mail, fall shouldn’t be overlooked as time to order seeds. Gardening seems to be the new hobby for many, that is here to stay. With this newfound excitement of gardening comes a problem--more people buying seeds in the spring. Last year seed companies struggled to meet demands with seed orders, and many sold out very quickly. To avoid the rush on seeds this coming spring, consider ordering your seeds this fall or winter. Take inventory of seeds that your have, store those away properly. Then, secure some of your favorite seeds for next year by ordering them early.
Winter will be here soon, so grab some gloves and work boots and head out the garden to finish of the last few chores of the year. Saying goodnight to the garden is a bittersweet moment. While most gardeners are ready for the break, there is also glimmer of anticipation and excitement for next year’s garden as well!
Put your garden to bed for winter and start making those plans for next year!
Blessings of Bounty - Amber Jouben
Heritage Hollow Homestead