Submitted Date 11/07/2019

10 Ways To Prepare Your Outdoor Garden For Winter

Are you ready to prepare your outdoor garden for winter? Do you desire a beautiful garden in the Spring with less effort during the busier season?

The Best Time to Prepare Your Garden

As the fall progresses and the weather cools, this is the best time to get your garden ready for the winter. Moreover, you will be one step ahead for the Spring season.

It is imperative to plan and formulate your outdoor garden. Doing so before winter rather than leaving it alone is the best way to be more prepared for the seasons to come.

Frequently, we allow nature to take its course rather than gain the benefits of early preparation. Today, I will show you ten critical things to do to get your garden ready for winter.

Clear Dead, Dying and Diseased Plants Plus Weeds

While you might have some reluctance to clear up dead or dying plants till spring, there are some undesirable consequences for this. Pests! Yes, pests!

Slug and snails, for instance, will feed on leftover garden debris. This gives the pests a perfect opportunity to start munching on your “perfect” seedlings, which come up next spring.

Other pests may overwinter on organic ideal as well. It is advisable to remove all dead materials from the garden before winter sets in. To begin the process, start with evacuating the pests’ habitats.

Put Dead Plants & Debris to Use

Dead plants and debris can be put to good use.  They can be composted and used as organic matter for the next season.

In the case of diseased plants and materials, they should be removed quickly. Quick removal reduces the chances of spreading disease in the outdoor garden.

Burn Waste to Produce Ash

Waste products gathered from the garden should be burnt to ash. Ash obtained from burning garden waste can be put to good use. Using this process provides a double advantage to the garden. Burnt ashes contain potassium (potash). This type of ash is better than coal ash.  However, use a small amount of burnt ash in the garden (due to its alkaline nature).

Remove or Prune Perennials

After evacuating the pests’ habitats, you need to remove or prune Perennials. These are plants that grow for more than two seasons, but they are not active during the winter. They go into a period of dormancy during colder temperatures.

Dig Your Ground & Add Organic Matter

Now that you have removed weeds and dead plants, it is time to dig over your plot and incorporate your organic matter like compost. Doing so is preparation needed for planting in spring.

The winter weather helps the garden to make use of the organic matter through it's freezing and thawing action. The freeze-thaw cycles will break down the organic matter and kill overwintering pests.

Prepare Soil for Spring

Once you have toiled the dirt, you can add manure and other composting materials. Working the soil in the Autumn will also help to improve the drainage of the garden.

Once hard weather sets in, it is nearly too late to add this tilling benefit. Depending on the planting you desire for the Springtime in your outdoor garden space, you can also add nutrients to the soil.

Planting Spring Bulbs

To continue your outdoor garden prep for the Fall, plant your Spring bulbs in desired locations in the outdoor spaces. Some existing bulbs (which have grown in size) within the garden spaces will need to be dug up gently and separated.

The “extra” bulbs are ready to be planted in other areas of the garden space. Remember to allow enough space between all the bulbs to allow for growth during the Spring season. One example of Spring bulbs to dig up gently and divide are daffodils.

Making Use of Cover Plants

For the more serious gardeners, Fall is the time to also add cover plants to the outdoor gardens. Doing so will increase the levels of available nitrogen within the soil. If you are planning vegetable gardening for the Spring, the additional nitrogen will prove beneficial to the next vegetable growing season. Options for your cover planting includes making use of clover as well as garden peas.

Refresh Layers of Mulch

Autumn is also the time to refresh layers of mulch in the outdoor gardens. Mulching before winter sets in will help the outdoor soils retain more water.

Fresh mulch placement helps to prevent soil erosion through the harsh winter. Moreover, additional mulching will help decrease weed growth.

For gardeners who continue with winter garden crops, additional mulching will help protect roots as well as hold soil temperatures steadier through the seasonal changes. An additional benefit of mulching includes prolonging your plants.

Carry Out General Maintenance

After preparing your outdoor winter garden, carrying out general maintenance is needed. Sheds and outbuildings should be checked appropriately. See if there are any repairs to be made. You should check for any loose or rotten boards and repair them as well.

Cleaning & Preparing Garden Tools

Even though most gardeners are aware they should keep tools clean and smooth-running throughout the year, many of them find it problematic. This occurs often due to not being able to keep up while gardening is in full operation.

Fall presents you with an excellent opportunity to revitalize garden tools by:

  • Washing garden tools

  • Remove built-up rust with sandpaper or a wire brush

  • Use a necessary mill file to sharpen hoes and shovels

  • Rub tools surface with an oiled rag to seal the metal from oxygen which is an agent of rust

Now, you are ready for the Spring season! Your weeds are cleared, and your garden is tilled. Beneficial organic materials are doing their work to provide you with a better yard for the Spring season. And, you have a head start on bulb preparation in the garden for the beautiful season to come. Plus, your tools are ready and waiting for you! Now, you can rest assured for a more relaxed start for the Spring season, and your winter prep is complete!


Barbi Green


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