You might think that there’s not much you can do for your garden in the fall and winter months. However, this is not entirely true, and there is more to be done than covering your rosebushes with a garbage bag and hoping for the best. Read on to learn about some of the best tips for keeping your garden healthy and robust throughout the cold months.
Know Your Garden
Before you can execute any positive preventive measures, you need to know what the frost line is for your growing area, and when the first frost will hit. Utilize a Farmer’s Almanac or similar, and talk to a professional at your local nursery, if you’re not sure when the first deadly frost usually hits.
Once you know your frost line, you can then take the appropriate steps to care for your bulbs. If you live in a really cold climate, carefully dig up your bulbs prior to the first frost and store in a cool, dark location until the ground is no longer frozen. If you live in an area where extreme frost is less of a concern, you can keep these bulbs in the soil, just make sure they’re nice and comfortable before the ground freezes and you can’t move them.
If you keep your bulbs planted, also make sure you incorporate low-nitrogen fertilizer to the soil underneath and surrounding these bulbs.
Mulch it Up
Mulch doesn’t only prevent weeds and keep your garden healthy, but it also keeps it warm. While the exposed areas of annuals and perennials will still likely die off or go to sleep, the mulch will protect the roots and bulbs so that these plants can recover as the winter frost begins to thaw. The mulch also provides moisture to the plants without freezing them.
If you want to keep growing all year long, but don’t have the space or money for a fancy greenhouse, you can incorporate some tunnels instead. Low tunnels can be utilized to keep your summer veggies growing a few weeks into the fall and winter, and high tunnels can be used to help your winter vegetables grow.
Eliminate Weed Sprouts
Make use of the cold season by eliminating weeds from flower beds, plots, and the garden. Weeds generally germinate in warm weather, so as soon as there is a warm spell, start pulling out those new growths.
While this is the most common practice utilized in the cold months, many people have been covering their fragile plants all wrong. If covering your plants, opt for cloth and avoid plastic no matter what.
Burlap is the ideal material for small shrubs and trees that need to be kept warm in the winter. Be sure that you are only covering your plants, trees, and shrubs when it is freezing or below, otherwise you may trick them into thinking it’s springtime!
If you’re not quite ready to give up on your garden just because the colder days are here, there are some cold-season vegetables that you can maintain throughout the fall and winter. Some of the veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, peas, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, and many types of lettuce and root vegetables.
Try to get some advice from local gardeners or a nearby nursery to see what grows well in your area in the colder months. You can also take the fall and winter off from gardening if you wish, but just be sure to follow the tips above to keep the plants that you currently have alive through the colder months.