Setting Up Your Garden For The Winter

By on October 29, 2014
Winterize Your Garden

With snow, winds, and rainy weather, the winter season can easily wreak havoc on a home garden in a matter of days. To prepare your garden for the colder months ahead and get it ready for the off-season, there are a few steps to take to ensure that it survives lower temperatures. From the vegetables to annual flowers, there are several ways to prepare the soil and plants to ensure that it survives the change in weather and can thrive again once spring arrives.

Plant a Cover Crop with Vegetables
Once you’re done harvesting your crops for the fall, it’s important to plant a cover crop to protect the soil until the season ends. This will protect the topsoil from washing or blowing away in the winter weather. The soil can also be tilled to ensure that it is easy to handle and easy to plant in once spring arrives. This should be done in the fall, as it is often more difficult to till the soil in the spring. If winter erosion is an issue that has occurred previously with the garden, the soil can be plowed in the spring. Stems and foliage can also be removed to prevent the spreading of disease organisms or having insects eat the debris.Another step to take is to check your soil pH with an electronic tester or pH kit to ensure that the soil is slightly acidic, which is ideal for most crops. If the soil has a low acidity level, add lime to the dirt. If it’s too alkaline, consider adding elemental sulfur.Wrap Tender Plants
Most people who maintain gardens in their yards have experienced the misfortune of having certain plants die due to extreme temperature drops at the end of the year. To protect tender plants, wrap them in burlap, straw, or paper for extra insulation during the night when the temperatures are most extreme. A frame can also be used to hold the mulch or sawdust.

Protect Ponds with Nets
To prevent decomposing leaves from creating a mess in your pond during the colder months, add a net on the water to catch the leaves. This will prevent the water from becoming dingy and will also protect any filters in the pond from becoming clogged.

Apply Sprays Directly on Plants
Many different plants suffer from winter burn, which can destroy their condition and even cause permanent damage. Apply anti-desiccant sprays in the fall and shade the plants with nearby trees to prevent sun exposure in the afternoons that causes them to thaw. Install stakes in the ground to mount suran screening or burlap, which will also work to protect the plants. Avoid using polyethylene sheeting to guard the plants from the sun and the low temperatures.

Shut Off a Watering System
Before winter arrives, disassemble a garden hose or automatic irrigation system to prevent frost damage from occurring. Drain all of the water out with an air compressor and remove hoses from the outside environment.

Wrap Trees
For beautiful trees that sit in a garden, bark splitting is a common occurrence in the winter due to sunscald that occurs. This is most common with younger trees when the bark becomes frozen and then thawed in the morning sun repeatedly. To protect the tree bark, it’s crucial to wrap the trunks in either burlap or tree wrap paper for proper insulation that will allow them to maintain their condition under the weather improves.

Clean Up Debris in the Garden
It’s crucial to clean up garden debris that is present, which includes stems and old leaves that have begun to deteriorate. This can cause disease spores to grow and allow insects to invade the garden if they’re left during the winter. Make sure that all other the debris is properly composted during the clean-up.

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