It’s the time of year when it’s tempting to do nothing with the garden. It’s cold, you’re busy with other things, and you’ve got better things to do than plant pansies in the snow. With cold weather coming is important to ensure your garden is appropriately prepped for winter. This prep can also aid in the positive effects of gardening and plant therapy during an otherwise gloomy season. The good news is that there are a few simple steps you can take right now after you harvest your summer vegetables to prep them for winter and keep them healthy until next spring:
Composting is a great way to use up any old vegetables or fruit that may have over-ripened or been left over from the harvest. It’s also a great way to recycle and keep your garden waste out of the landfill. You can compost almost anything, including leaves, grass clippings, garden trimmings, eggshells, and even coffee grounds. The key is not to add meat or dairy products, as these will attract animals like rats.
Remove and Destroy Dead Plants
There are several reasons you should remove dead plants from your garden. First, dead plants can be a breeding ground for pests such as mold, insects, and fungi. Second, they can also attract animals like rodents that chew on the woody stems and leaves of even the sturdiest perennials. Thirdly, they could cause problems with your soil structure by attracting termites or creating an environment that encourages other invasive species to invade their space. Finally, dead plants may pose a fire hazard if left alone during the winter months.
Use Cloches To Protect Your Plants
Cloches are another type of protective cover for plants, but they are much different from cold frames. Cloches are made out of glass or plastic and are used to protect plants from frost and wind. A cloche can be made with various materials, including plastic, glass, or copper. Examples of cloches include the bell jar, tunnel cloche, and floating row cover.
These tools can be used on their own or in combination with other structures like cold frames to protect your garden all winter long. They’re also relatively inexpensive compared to other options such as greenhouses, making them an excellent choice if you’re just starting out prepping your garden for winter.
Create a Cold Frame
If you have a small backyard and want to grow vegetables year-round, you can use a cold frame. A cold frame is basically a mini greenhouse that warms things up when it’s cold outside. Any window and a frame will do.
Cover Delicate Plants With Straw or Evergreen Boughs
Evergreen boughs are an excellent substitute for straw, as they protect plants from the cold and keep them safe from windy conditions. Evergreen boughs are available at most garden centers and nurseries, but you may also find them on your own property. Remove the leaves of pine or spruce trees and use those branches to cover delicate plants. If you do not have access to evergreen branches or straw, it is possible to use sheets of plastic instead. Plastic sheets can be purchased at many hardware stores and online stores like Amazon.
Clean Out the Garden Shed
It’s the time of year when you need to clean out your shed and make sure it’s ready for winter. If you don’t have a shed, try cleaning out a corner of the garage. Make sure you have enough light to work in and enough room for all your tools and supplies.
Store Any Cushions or Furniture in a Dry Place Indoors
If you have cushions or furniture that you want to keep dry, it’s important to store them indoors. This way, they will be protected from the elements and prevent mold growth. Don’t store them too close to heat or in direct sunlight.
Sprinkle Pansies Around the Garden
If you’re feeling particularly festive, try planting a few pansies around your garden. They’re beautiful in the fall and make an excellent centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner if you can get them to last long in your garden. If you don’t have time to plant them yourself, buy some from the store and keep them in pots until they start to die back in September or October.