Some people think that fall and winter are a gardener’s chance to cozy up with a hot cocoa in front of the fireplace and completely disregard their garden. Actually there are plenty of things you can do now during this season that will be beneficial come spring. We’ve put together an essential list of things, that you can do to prep your yard and garden for winter. When you're finished with all the things on this list, you can get back to that hot cocoa and cozy blankets!
Plant Something Colorful
Nothing breaks up cold weather blues like bright, colorful flowers. Some options to consider are violas, pansies, asters, garden mums, 'Autumn Joy' sedum, and sweet alyssum. Planting these flowers now and watching them bloom can lift your spirits during one of those grey, cloudy weeks.
Plant Some Fruits and Vegetables
You don’t have to stop vegetable gardening just because it's colder out. There are plenty of green veggies and lettuces that will mature quickly, before any extreme winter cold sets in (and some even taste better with a bit of frost on it. Kale for example.). Try planting some lettuces, turnips, mustard greens, collards or kale. Make sure to mix a rich compost into your garden to give those vegetables a good start.
Plant Spring-Blooming Bulbs
When evening temperatures are in the 40- to 50-degree range, it's the perfect time to plant pretty bulbs to guarantee a gorgeous spring garden: alliums (we like 'Gladiator' and 'Drumstick'), tulips, daffodils and crocus are all great to get in the ground right now. Just remember to mulch after you plant them.
Get Houseplants Ready for Indoors
Get rid of any pests from potted plant soil by watering several minutes apart outside. Clear up any dead leaves or other damaged bits. Cover your plants with insecticidal soap a few days before moving them inside to get rid of any remaining pests. Mulch your plants too, to keep them tidy inside. Think about possibly repotting any houseplants that have grown in size, upsizing to a larger pot and giving them fresh soil while you're at it.
Get Foundation Plants in the Ground
Shrubs, perennials and trees do best when they’re planted in the fall, just remember you still need to water them consistently to give them a good start. Shrubs also provide great shelter and food for birds over the cold winter.
Autumn is a great time to take advantage of the end-of-season sales when patio furniture and garden equipment is being reduced in order to clear up space for new products. If there are plants or supplies you’ve been wanting, now is the time to buy.
Clean Up the Garden
Fruits and veggies that fall to the ground can attract pests and diseases, so clear out all of your rotten ones whenever you see them. Some other ways you can clean up around the garden include:
- Cut back perennials.
- Mulch beds to protect and help plants retain water in the months ahead.
- Continue to weed your garden, even when temperatures drop.
- Pruning deciduous trees is also a great fall garden task because with leaves gone you can easily see the shape of the tree and know best how to prune. Just don’t prune flowering trees like crape myrtle, peach, cherry or plums, which should be pruned near their bloom time.