Fall is often our favorite season the days cool down, and our harvest is ready to enjoy fresh from the garden. But sadly even good things must come to an end, and we must close up our gardens in the fall to prepare them for winter. Closing your garden might be different than you expect.
Close Your Garden Down For the Fall
Save seeds from plants you wish to grow again next year. Keep in mind that cross-pollination may change the quality and features of the plants you save seeds from.
In your annual garden beds chop down the remaining stalks, stumps, and leaves of your garden. Mix them into your soil where they will rot and break down giving your soil fresh organic matter and plenty of nutrients. This is a good chance to mix the old mulch and even leaves from the yard into your soil to build it up. You will need new mulch next year and the more organic matter in your soil the better quality it will be.
In both annual and perennial garden beds take the compost from your bin that has finished breaking down and add it to your soil now leaving your room to add materials over the winter when breakdown will be slower than the warmer months.
Take Care of Your Plants
Cut back perennials to prepare them for winter. Check for signs of pest eggs sacks, and diseases to remove them now for healthier plants next year. While you are at it trim and clean up distressed parts of your evergreens to allow them to thrive through the winter.
Add a thick mulch over beds with bulbs to help keep the soil getting too hard and cracking the bulbs. Replace old mulch under rose bushes. The old mulch may harbor pests, mold, and diseases that will spread when the spring warmth rolls through.
If you plan to plant garlic now is the time. Garlic should be planted late fall right about the time we usually shut out gardens down for the year.
If you had a weed problem this year consider solarizing your garden beds. It is a great way to kill off weeds. The warmth of being covered as the fall sun beats down will trick the weeds into coming up. They then will die before they can produce new seeds that will bother your garden next year. Sometimes planning like this is the best way to make your life easier.
Plan for Winter
Winterize your irrigation system to protect them from the hard winter freezes. Drain and roll your hoses bringing them inside for the winter. Drain irrigation pipes to prevent them from busting. Pull in-ground watering pots and globes storing them away for the winter.
Bushes that may struggle with the winter wind can be protected by shade cloth or burlap held up by stakes. Protect young trees from hungry critters by wrapping in wire hardware cloth that will prevent chewing young trees down.
Once your garden is prepped for winter, you get to sit back and enjoy a relaxing winter while you dream of the beautiful things going into your garden next spring.