We’ve reached that time of year here at Rosevine Cottage where we are preparing for fall and winterizing the garden. We’re expecting our first-night dipping into the ’30s this week, which is bringing much of our garden to the season to an end.
Fall is probably my favorite season, but I’m always sad when this part of the season rolls around and it’s time to do the end of season garden care, but a full pantry full of canned goodies from the garden always makes it a little easier. Gardening is a partnership between you and the ground your cultivating, so it’s really important to take care of your garden after it’s worked so hard to take care of you.
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Getting Garden Ready For Winter: Winterizing The Garden
Getting the garden ready for winter with the end of season garden care will make your spring garden so much easier! Think of it as preparing for spring! The promise of a new season of beauty, and new life after the harshness of winter. Wondering what to do you do in the garden for winter?
The first step to getting the garden ready for winter is cleanup:
- Clean up any dead branches and remove dead plants and burn or compost them. This is especially important if you have had trouble with squash bugs.
- Remove and store any trellises, arbors, cages or stakes.
- If you are using temporary fencing to protect your plants from deer, you can remove it and store over the winter so no little critters get stuck in it. Or leave it up all winter just be mindful to check it every once ina while.
What To Do In The Garden For Winter
Once you’ve cleaned up your garden it’s time for the next step of winterizing the garden,
- Do a soil test and add any amendments it suggests.
- Spread several inches of composted manure to the top of your garden. You can either work it in or leave it on the top of the soil.
- Spread a thick layer of mulched leaves over your soil, this will add nutrients to your soil as it breaks down and keeps your topsoil from washing away.
End Of Season Garden Care
A great thing to do while you are working on the end of season garden care is working on the upkeep of your arbors and fences. Fix any damage, add a fresh coat of paint or stain, etc. This is one less thing you will have to worry about when the spring garden season rolls in.
Another great task to add to your ‘what to do in winter for the garden‘ list is to update your garden journal,
- take a moment and update your plant notes
- write down what you loved growing
- make note of what didn’t do well
- write down some things you’d love to grow next year
Winterizing Raised Garden Beds
Most of our gardening is done in raised beds, so we have quite a lot of winterizing raised garden beds to do for our end of season garden care. How do you get a raised bed garden ready for winter?
- Clean up any dead plants and burn, trash or compost them.
- Remove any temporary support systems like arbors and cages.
- Test the soil and add amendments.
- Add a layer of compost and composted manure to the top of your soil
- Add a thick layer of mulched leaves to your beds.
- Consider growing a winter cover crop.
Preventing Frost Damage & Covering Garden With Plastic For Winter
Here in Tennessee, we tend to get our first frost and then the temperature pops back up and it’s warm again so to prevent frost damage, and be able to continue growing (at least until it freezes) we do a couple of things:
When a frost is predicted just before dusk we cover our plants. A couple of ways we do this are with sheets, pillow slips, bolts of fabric and even plastic. We drape it over our plants at dusk to prevent frost damage when the temperature drops to those dreaded lows and then remove them in the morning when the sun can warm them.
If your plants are very intolerant to the cold you can leave gallon jugs of water out in the sun during the day and then place them in your beds beneath the blankets to help keep them warm.
Another great method for preventing frost damage is to run strands of Christmas lights between your plants, then cover with a sheet or piece of plastic for the night. The lights will help to keep your plants a little warmer and get them through the frost.
Winter Cover Crops And Green Manures
Another great way to winterize the garden is by planting cover crops, cover crops provide tons of nutrients back into your soil when you turn them into your soil before planting your spring garden.
Some great winter cover crops to plant in your garden are:
- annual ryegrass
- winter wheat
- winter rye
- and buckwheat
Winterizing The Garden For Spring
Winterizing the garden now will give you a head start when spring rolls around and it’s time to get your plants in the ground. It’s best to do this before your first freeze, so it isn’t absolutely miserable to be outside, and the ground isn’t frozen. But even if it has gotten cold you can still do some of these!
What’s your best tip for winterizing the garden? Tell us in the comment!
Before you go, check these out!
- Garden Essentials For The Fall Gardener
- Preparing Your Garden For Winter
- Preparing Your Chicken Coop For Winter