The chill in the air is here to stay, and while you’re breaking out the sweaters, jackets, and blankets, have you thought about your garden? Gardens properly prepped for winter are more likely to thrive the following year!
Now is a great time to get outside and enjoy the lovely autumnal weather before the chill of winter sets in. To some, fall cleanup might mean raking up some leaves and calling it a season, but it’s essential to think about all aspects of the garden this fall. Check out these five tips for prepping the garden for winter.
Harvest and store vegetables and herbs – While it is best to keep a more natural approach in many parts of the garden, leaving much of the plant material, this does not include vegetables. Old, decaying plants and veggies can harbor pests and diseases, so it is a good idea to remove all of the plant material from your beds entirely. Using a sturdy pair of hand pruners will help get this job done in no time. Our high-quality hand pruners are perfect for cutting back old, expired foliage.
Prepare garden beds – Many think that spring is the time for composting and fertilizing, but you want to add them to your beds in late autumn to let the soil soak
up those nutrients over the winter. Just a couple of inches of compost, manure, or another natural fertilizer on top of your beds before the ground freezes can make a big difference next spring. A hand cultivator like the Big Grip Cultivator is a great tool to mix in the compost and fertilizer in the beds. After the compost (or other natural fertilizer), add a light layer of straw or mulch to prevent soil erosion, nutrient leaching, and weed development. If it is more your style, you can add a cover crop such as winter rye to improve your soil!
Winterize perennials, shrubs, and trees – Make sure to water any perennials, shrubs, and trees well in the fall to last them through the winter. Make the job easy with the foldable watering can that can be folded and put away for the season when you’re done. Take some time to prune off any dead or diseased canes from woody shrubs and trees, but save any major pruning for next spring. For larger, hard-to-reach branches, our telescoping handle, heavy-duty loppers are the perfect tool!
Help your garden helpers – Don’t forget about the wildlife in your garden! During the fall and winter, help out the birds by keeping your birdfeeder stocked with fatty high-energy foods like suet or rich seeds like black oil sunflower seeds. It is best to establish a feeding routine and keep feeders clean to help the birds maintain good hygiene. Consider adding a birdbath to your landscape as well for these essential garden helpers.
General maintenance – Fall is a great time to clean up your garden storage space. Empty any ceramic outdoor containers not in use to keep them from cracking over the winter. Take the time to clean and sterilize your garden hand tools before storing them for the winter. Some folks may even choose to oil pruners and loppers with vegetable oil to avoid rust. Make sure to get in one last mow before draining the fuel tank on your mower. Grass left too tall when heavy snow comes can turn into brown spots in the spring.
And finally, once the fall chores are complete, it’s time to curl up by the fire with a hot cup of tea or cocoa and start planning for next spring!