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Preparing Your Garden for Winter

preparing your garden for winter graphic

This fall, once you are done planting as many Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, or perennials that will fit in your garden, it is time to prepare your garden beds for the winter months. This preparation will make it easier to work your garden in the spring and will help to protect your plants from the harsh winter weather. Below are tips for winterizing the different types of garden beds you may have.

Perennials/Bulbs Beds

Remove annual plants that have died down. You can then cut back perennial plants if needed, remove dead growth and rake up/discard debris. You can also leave the debris for your local bird friends - they love using it to make nests! Pull out tender bulbs such as Dahlias, Calla Lilies, and Gladiolus, dry them out, and store in a ventilated, cool, dry place. You can protect your tender, perennial plants from the winter with any type of mulch that is natural to your area. Prepare new garden beds for spring planting by removing growth or putting down a layer of mulch

Vegetable Beds

Pull out existing, finished plantings if you are not collecting seeds. If you are collecting seeds to re-plant next year, leave plant until pods are brown and dried or hang in a cool, dry place. Write down the varieties that you had success with for future reference and planting. Weed the garden bed and rake, rake, rake! If you have time, you can plant a cover crop such as Annual Rye Grass. The winter will kill this crop off and it will slowly decompose during the cold months, putting nutrients into the soil for spring crops. If you choose not to do this, cover the soil with grass clippings, chopped leaves, bark mulch, or other items to keep the bed covered and protected during the winter.

For gardeners in warmer areas (zones 8-10), prune your perennial plants for their short rest period. This will help them get started on their second growth cycle. You can plant more perennials or bulbs at this time for late winter growth.