Plants have a way of knowing what time of year it is, and when cooler weather comes, it can be a challenge to keep them happy. Very few plants thrive in cold weather, and you probably don’t have a selection of evergreen trees growing in your personal garden.
Don’t give up hope just yet though. There are ways to protect your precious plants from the hardships of winter. Here are a few examples of how you can help make sure the plants in your garden stay as strong as possible so that they can thrive again when things warm up.
Very few plants thrive in cold weather. Here are ways to protect your precious plants from the hardships of winter.
Clean up Unhealthy Plants
Allowing plants that carry disease and rot to remain in your garden will only expose the rest of what you have planted to the same maladies. For this reason, it’s important that only strong and healthy plants are present in your garden before you go into the colder months. Trim dying growth off of existing plants before it rots, and if a plant is particularly unwell, it should probably be removed before you continue preparations for the rest of your garden.
Turn the Soil and Add Nutrients
Fall and early winter are good times to rotate some fresh nutrients into your soil. If you use additives like fertilizer, bone meal and rock phosphate, you can give your plants a head start on the growing season by adding them now and allowing time for things to break down through the winter. That way, when the sun comes back and plants are ready to begin their growth spurt, they’ll be doing it with access to nutrient-fortified soil.
Tilling in fall also helps encourage good drainage so that plants don’t become waterlogged in the event of heavy rain.
Leave Root Crops, but Pull up Other Veggies
Carrots, parsnips, rutabagas and potatoes can weather the winter climate, but most other vegetables will die in the cold. Above-ground plants should be pulled up and composted if they’re healthy, which will provide you with nutrients to spread in your soil for the next season. As for those root crops, they’ll actually taste sweeter if you allow them to mature in cold weather — the recommended duration is between 2 and 4 weeks for maximum sweetness.
Plant Cover Crops
To prevent degradation and soil erosion, try to plant crops that will survive through winter and give the soil some much-needed structure. Choosing the right crops for this assignment can even add important nutrients like nitrogen to the soil. Popular choices are rye, legumes, vetch and clover. As a general rule, plant them two weeks before you expect the first frost to form.
Prepare Your Tools
Having your equipment well cared for and properly stored is equally as important as having your garden prepped. You wouldn’t want to go out and buy all new tools come spring. Empty outdoor containers and hang them upside-down. Clean excess water from your hose by running it over a dry railing, then roll it up where it won’t freeze or crack. Drain fuel from your power equipment as well, and separate and clean your tools, applying oil if you hope to prevent rust.
It may seem like a lot of work, but winterizing your garden will help ensure that the work you put in during the other three seasons will continue to yield healthy, tasty results.
It may seem like a lot of work, but winterizing your garden will help ensure that the work you put in during the other three seasons will continue to yield healthy, tasty results. What’s more, the process will save you lots of extra time, energy and money come future months.
If you’re a seasoned gardener with experience wintering plants and preparing for the cold season, share some of your best advice in the comments section below!
What are your favorite tips for prepping your garden for cooler months?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
About the Author
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!
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