Preparing the Garden for Old Man Winter

Cool weather is here to stay and that means cleaning up the lawn and garden for a long winters rest. Fall cleanup doesn’t have to be the time and labor intensive task you dread with a good plan.
  1. First things first, clean out the vegetable beds. Remove all dead or dying plants and pluck the last of the harvest. Deposit all disease and pest free plants in the compost bin for great “black gold” come spring.
  2.  If your cold weather crops are still thriving keep them going with a cold frame. A cold frame set over plants will keep kale, cabbage, Swiss chard and more going throughout the winter in most areas.
  3.  Trim or remove any dead or diseased plant material from perennials, trees and shrubs.
  4.  Treat for pests now. While you may not see any pests lurking in your garden once cooler temperatures hit chances are they have already laid thousands of eggs throughout the garden. Treat for these eggs now for a whole lot fewer pests when temperatures warm again.
  5.  Dig up dahlia, gladiolas, cannas, begonias and store for the winter. A good rule of thumb is if it was planted in spring dig it up come fall.
  6.  Rake up the leaves but don’t toss them. Pile freshly raked leaves onto cleaned out garden beds. Leaves act as mulch and break down over the winter depositing nutrients into the soil.
  7.  Plant bulbs for spring! Crocus, tulips, daffodils, ranunculus and more can all be planted in the fall for a beautiful and colorful early spring display. As long as you can dig the hole it’s not too late to plant.
  8.  Fall is also the time to plant or transplant trees and shrubs. Once trees go dormant they can be transplanted safely. You might consider adding Figs, apples, raspberries, or blueberries to your harvest.
  9.  Lastly, bring in your potted plants and take cutting of some of your favorite annuals to propagate indoors. Sweet potato vine, rosemary, and coleus are just a few examples of plants that will propagate well from a cutting.

    How do you prepare your garden for winters wrath?

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One Response to “Preparing the Garden for Old Man Winter”

  1. February 13, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    These recommendations are of course spot on. As I was reading through them I couldn’t help but wonder how the nine tips here relate differently to people in different parts of the country. Surely gardeners in Florida must prepare for winter differently than gardeners in Montana… (Though as someone who lives at ~10,000′, we can only dream of being able to follow tips like #8. Apple trees in the mountains would be great!)

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