We want to get his out of the way. Winter is coming and with it comes much harsher weather which can put an end to your gardening plans. For your beloved garden to survive the change of seasons, unlike the ill-fated book adaptation, we offer some helpful pieces of advice. There is a lot to cover here, as preparation is key to success. As the early bird gets the worm, so will those who start preparing for the spring in this time enjoy the rewards once the snow melts.
1. Start laying the foundations for the future
This item will be a bit of a long one but we will try to break it down into its and bits. Much like the whole project of preparing your garden for the season to come. So, autumn is passing, much of the harvest is done or nearly done and now it’s cleanup time. Any plants remaining can be used for composting if you have a dedicated composting space. We will be returning to this a lot as many organic by-products of your garden can be used for composting.
When you’re gardening and the plant area is clean, then it’s time for one final de-weeding. During this transition, obviously, no plants can use the minerals from the ground so weeds can run rampant if left unchecked during such a prolonged period. Combine that with ample water that will be present and you have a recipe for disaster. Any weeds that you get out, save the quality of your ground base and then it’s off to the compost bin with them.
Next up is to refresh the mulch. Seeing as it did its fair share of work in protecting your garden and the plants within, it can use all the help it can get. Also, it will get boosted as you lay it to rest during the wintertime. Once the sun is up and spring is in the air, it will be more than prepared to kick start your project as it too awakens from its winter slumber. Since you are preparing the groundwork, ground fertilization is the key part. We already talked about composting but there is one more thing you can add to it.
Leaves falling from your or nearby trees. An absolute gold mine and free resource, leaves are excellent composting material. Don’t just leave them to rot away at the ground as they can be whipped away by wind and swept away into the garbage. Collect as much as you want and put them all into your composting bin so that you can reap the benefits of a free, organic and great fertilizer come spring.
Plan B can include buying some from the store if you can’t be asked to compost or go through all the hustle above. We are just letting you in on all the options.
2. Winter-proof your garden objects
If you are using gardening beds, now is an ideal time for renovation, adaption and overcoming, pardon, refreshing them. Depending on which material you used, it may not be the best idea to leave them untreated and out in the open. If they are made out of wood, a fresh protective layer of paint and treatment helps them to survive the harsh times ahead. Simply leaving them out to their faith leads to cracks and weather damage and, that’s not something you want to see come springtime. If you wish to expand them or make new plans, now is also the ideal time.
There are plenty of apps to help you plan and plant your garden layout and, what better time to plant for that than during a rainy or snowy day with a nice warm beverage? Planning for the future can also lead to some new ideas and, as you will have a bit more free time in this period, you can use it for your gardening plans.
One area which you shouldn’t neglect as well is greenhouse maintenance. Yes, it’s sturdy and reliable but not invulnerable. Your greenhouse or glasshouse is the perfect shelter for your plants, we can all agree on that. But, as plants can thrive there, so can bugs, pests, mould, weed etc. Or, in short, all the nasty things you don’t need. If left to their own devices, for months to come, they will not only multiply but can cause damage as well.
Nice and thorough cleaning and not neglecting corners and hard to reach spaces make your greenhouse a clean house. Pay special attention to your window panes and the joints around them as they can have tiny little cracks thru cold and, moisture can seep in. Cleaning them prevents mould and moss to grow over them and, it lets the sunshine in on your dirt as it sleeps and rests during the winter.
And last, but not least, your gardening shed can also use a makeover. To maintain its purpose in protecting all your valuable gardening assets, it needs to be top-notched and, most importantly, clean. If you are repainting your gardening beds, the old shed could certainly use a fresh coat of paint as well. Double-check its roof for leakage, to be sure and clean up any build-up debris before bringing in what needs to be there during the winter. Such items are your gardening tools and similar. Speaking of tools.
3. The right tools for the job
After all that hard work, it’s tempting to leave all your gardening equipment on the wall and call it a day. But dirt and organic matter that’s left can damage or reduce their property during prolonged exposure and time. If left untreated, they can deteriorate in both look and performance. Hoes and similar need to be cleaned from dirt and any organic matter on them and then wiped clean. It’s best to dry them out and then apply oil on them, just a little bit so, that they can be safe and ready for spring.
Don’t ignore your gardening gloves as well. If you leave them damp or dirty, that can lead to their moulding and even breaking so, be sure to clean and dry them as well. Clean up your lawnmower and be very thorough in the process. Every little nook and cranny with hard-to-reach places where grass and dirt may have lodged itself can complicate things. Check their oil, motor and parts before storing them away safely. You can always leave yourself a memo to take them to a mechanic once you fire it up for the first time when spring arrives as well.
4. Tree and bush trimming
These big fellas in your garden need special care as well as any other plant. It’s extremely hazardous for their health to forget or leave pruning to a later date. When you cut away excess branches, dead and sick ones as well, you are, essentially, leaving an open wound. As the weather is now, that won’t hurt them or cause much damage. But imagine what harm that can do when freezing temperatures come.
So don’t leave for tomorrow what you can prune today. If you have young fruit trees, consider wrapping them up with tree wrap to help them transition to the harsher weather until they grow in strength and size. Other options also include wrapping them in straw or leaves circled with plastic wrap. Anything that can warm up the tree trunk and provide heat and protection to the young tree helps it out. Many small critters and vermin can feed on their bark when winter comes, and thus, causing great damage or outright killing them. So makes sure to wrap up and protect the lower parts of it as well to protect them.
5. Finishing touches
Now that the compost is prepared, you can leave nature to run its course. Covering up your compost area lets the snow fall on top and show then becomes the perfect natural isolator. Gardening beds can also be tucked away and covered with safe plastic covers. Your pots are not an exception. When you empty and clean them, it’s important to dry them out and cover them or bring them inside. It doesn’t matter if they are plastic, clay or any other material because it’s completely unnecessary to leave them out to the mercy of the elements.
The bonus topic here is if you simply can’t go any time without gardening. Winter and snow don’t necessarily mean an end or an abrupt stop to your favourite hobby and, we would like to mention that as well. Pre planting is an option that is rarely used, which is a real shame. Your basement can be used as a base of operation, for example, where you can start your next year’s plans. This is especially handy if you are planning for some greens that take a long time to grow. During winter you can give them a head start in a safe and controlled environment until spring dawns. Then, once you bring them out in the open and plant them into your revitalized garden, they can only thrive in delight. All that preplanning and pre-planting will lead to early yields, and you have to enjoy your favourite hobby all year long.
Autumn is the perfect time to relax and take a step back to admire your achievements so far. Once the fruits of your labour are harvested and safely stored you can treat yourself to a well-deserved rest. Or, if you only have flowers and similar, now is the time to treat yourself to the autumn and winter holidays. Planning for the future comes naturally to us during this period as being couped up in our cozy homes stimulates those ideas.
This is all, of course, after you’ve done that last job of making sure that your garden is in the same state and condition as you. That is the state where you are both gathering energy for the challenges to come. Beneath the coming snow, prospects of your gardening ideas are already growing and, the field is set. All that remains is to weather out this period until brighter days are upon us and with them, your garden can shine anew!
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