Your garden is a wonderful investment of your time, energy and money, and as such, it should be protected at all costs. This means that it’s absolutely necessary to button up your plants for the winter so that they don’t get damaged by the cold and you pave the path to a healthy blooming season next year. And it is super cheap if you use your resources properly. Here are some simple tips on winterizing your garden.
Clear and clean
This is the first step in winterizing and it absolutely cannot be avoided. It’s not just cleaning out the weeds – you need to get rid of any dead vegetation, blackened stems, rotten fruit, etc. This way you avoid the risk of insect eggs and diseases invading your plants during their nap. Also, it’s crucial to examine all plants carefully and get rid of the ones that are diseased – basically, get rid of anything that you wouldn’t want there during growing season. Now is the time.
Move away tender plants
Most bulbs and tubers are very gentle and cannot withstand the cold. In order to risk losing them completely, you need to dig them up before winter and place them someplace dark and cool, such as the shed, basement, or garage until spring, when you can replant them again. Some gardeners also like to move their annuals indoors – if you have enough space, it doesn’t hurt to try, and it would be cool to have annuals that actually kept going through the winter. They need cool and bright conditions, so you can try this if you have a glasshouse or an enclosed, bright porch.
A long pre-dormancy drink
Before turning off your water so that the pipes don’t get frozen during winter, give your plants a good, long watering. This is especially important for newly planted shrubs, trees, and perennials. The best time to do this is about a week or two before the ground freezes, so measure your soil temperature regularly, keep track of temperature changes, and follow the weather forecast. Experts from Hose Link remind us that once you have given your plants their pre-dormancy drink and turned the water off for the whole winter, it’s crucial to empty hoses as well as store them away along with other gardening supplies so that they don’t crack from the cold.
An extra layer of mulch
Once the ground freezes, add a layer of mulch around the plants in order to insulate the soil and provide protection from frost heave. The reason we do this once the ground freezes and not before is because the point of layering with mulch is not to keep the plants warm, but rather to keep the soil at a constant temperature until spring so that your plants don’t start growing prematurely. You don’t have to buy mulch, just use shredded leaves and bark you’ve collected, straw and chopped cornstalks. The important thing is that they are all loose, non-compacting materials.
Extra protection for beds that are new
The first season is always the most important when it comes to planting, so if you have any new garden bed, it’s advisable to get additional coverage for it. Garden cloches typically come to mind. They’re not expensive, but you can even avoid buying one and use something simple, like an old window resting on the raised bed.
An important part of winterizing is covering your plants so they don’t get destroyed in harsh winter conditions. This stands for trees, shrubs, and especially rose bushes. You don’t have to buy any – fashion your own. Gather old sheets and tablecloth, garbage bags, or large cardboard boxes. Just make sure everything is well secured, so your plants don’t have their clothes blown off in the wind. Also, you’ll need to protect the bark of trees (fruit trees especially) with plastic collars, because rodents tend to eat a ring of bark particularly around young trees.
Once you are done preparing your garden for winter conditions, you can sit back and give yourself a pat on the shoulder. With everything well protected and prepared, the next season will hopefully be a smash of beautiful blooms.