Winterizing your garden for winter is a hot topic these days. In fact there are a slew of on-line articles coming out right on the subject and it is an important step in making sure you have a healthy, vibrant garden come spring time. The time and effort spent in the late fall/early winter in preparing your garden for winter will pay huge dividends come spring planting and harvest time. We’ve already had our first hard frost here at Grumpy Acres, so we may be a little late to the party but like the old adage says, though, “better late than never” and we have a unique take that we call the 10 Tips To Winterize Your Garden:
1) Prune: Trim back perennial plants, that’s a plant that lives for 2 or more years, to just above the soil with the pruning shears. Pruning back like this promotes a healthier plant come spring time, and improves the appearance of winter beds. Discard or compost the plant refuse.
2) Harvest: Harvest remaining frost-sensitive vegetables, before the first frost. Eat and store the edible food, and compost or discard the rest. Unripe tomatoes can be picked ahead of the frost and put in brown paper bags to ripen.
3 ) Pull Up: Pull up annual vegetable plants from the soil. Remove the entire plant, including the root system. Put healthy plants, which are free of insect infestation in your compost bin. Throw away any plants that have insects or are diseased.
4) Clean Up: Rake up leaves as part of general yard clean up. Dead and decaying leaves will smother your grass over the winter. By removing them you’ll end up with a healthier, greener lawn come spring time. Add them to your compost pile for use in the spring by your garden or shred them and use as mulch on your garden beds.
5 ) Mulch: Mulch any vegetables that are hardy enough to produce during colder temps; such as carrots, beets, parsnips and onions. Cover them with about 8 inches of mulch. These types of vegetables will keep producing well in to the winter if you keep them insulated.
6) Put Perennials To Sleep: Put perennials to sleep by mulching any perennial vegetables that will go dormant over the winter such as asparagus. Apply 2 to 4 inches of mulch to cover the plant crowns and the surrounding soil.
7) Cultivate: Cultivate the soil to a depth of about 6 inches. A spade, or rototiller will do the job. Cultivating before winter sets in will help aerate the soil and keep it from becoming too compacted.
8) Fertilize: Add fertilizer, if you use it to augment your compost. Putting it down in the winter will allow it to soak deep in to the soil, which will allow for better usage by your spring plants.
9) Compost: Spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the garden by raking it evenly into the soil. This will not only help protect the soil it will also add valuable nutrients to the soil which will feed you plants next spring.
10) Protect: Put barriers up to protect shrubs or young trees. Heavy snow can damage young trees and shrubs. Barriers that will keep snow from building up on them will help them survive the winter. Barriers and such will also help keep deer and other animals from eating them as they search for food in the winter.
11) Put Away: Do a general clean up of your garden, yard or homestead. Tools and equipment that won’t be used over the winter should be put away and moved to a shed or protected area. Finding something when the snow falls and everything is covered can be hard; even dangerous. If you need to find something in winter, move it now.