Preparing Your Garden for Winter

1. Clean the Garden Beds

It is easier if you break your garden beds up over time and work through them often. Remove all the dead vegetation and add a thin layer of compost then mulch. Once it gets colder and the ground freezes over, you can add an additional layer of mulch to perennials.

2. Soil Test

Test your soil often to gain pH level results. This will test the level of important elements such as potassium and calcium, the level of organic content and etc. This test will determine how much lime and fertilizer (chemical or organic) to add to improve your soil. Lime helps adjust the soil pH. Increasing the amount of lime in the winter is beneficial because it has all winter to dissolve into the soil.

3. Plant Garlic

Garlic has a unique growing season. Planting it in the fall allows the roots time to grow. As the ground freezes, the plants sleep then start growing again in the spring. Pick a garlic bed and plant the following year's garlic crop. Add in a substantial amount of compost and some organic fertilizer.

4. Think Outside of the Garden

Many garden centers have sales on garden soil and compost in the fall. Start thinking about how you can expand your ideal garden. Can you find new or improved ways to frame a new garden bed or raise the beds?If you purchase a new bed, fill it with fresh soil and add a coat of mulch to prepare for the following season.

5. Gather Leaves

Leaves falling from the trees aren't just pretty. They can be used for mulch, compost and for creating a rich humus layer. A layer of shredded leaf mulch over the soil will help suppress weeds and retain moisture. The Troy-Bilt TriAction' 21" Rear Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Mower is an easy way to mulch. Maintaining a carbon and nitrogen balance in your compost pile is important and dead leaves bring plenty of carbon. As the leaves break down over time, can be combined into the soil to improve the moisture holding ability.

6. Prepare Notes

Preparing your gardens for winter will take time and thought. Think about the previous plants and how they grew. When observing, taking notes can help you remember in the future. Think about how many plants you grew, what did well and how much you were able to harvest. Make note if you noticed any pests. Did everything in the garden beds do well? These notes can help better your future garden.

7. Don't Uproot all your Plants

Vegetables in the brassica (mustard) family, including cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and radishes left in the ground now and until the pre-planting time in early spring can attract pest. During the spring, plants release cyanide compounds that can kill off irritating wireworms. If you have any stalks, leave some standing in your flower gardens. This will attract birds, adding life and colour to your winter landscape.

8. Support Trees

Trees are commonly forgotten about when gardening. The wind can be a lot stronger in the fall. Creating tree supports to make sure young saplings have a strong enough base to make it through the fall and winter.

9. Enjoy the Fall

Take time to enjoy the crisp cool weather. Low humidity makes outdoor work more comfortable and the warmth of fall sunlight and colourful foliage makes fall the best time to be outside.