As winter approaches, many of the plants in your garden will either die off or go dormant. There are a few steps you need to take to prepare your garden for winter so it will come back strong and healthy in the spring.
- Cut back plants
The types of plants you have and your area of the country will dictate when you need to cut back plants. Properly cut back perennials so they will be able to grow back in the spring. If you have any plants that have died off or have dead leaves cut those off and discard. Pest eggs and disease spores can be present on plants that look diseased or questionable. Make sure that you clean out the garden so you do not inadvertently put the new growth at risk in the spring.
- Clean up other debris from your garden
There are others types of debris in your garden that can contain pest eggs and disease spores. Things such as old mulch and fallen leaves can accumulate in your garden and cause problems. Remove these items from your garden and discard them. Do not put these things in the compost pile if you suspect they may be infested with any type of disease or pest eggs. Cleaning these items out of your garden will also reduce the amount of work you will have to do in the spring. You will be able to have a fresh start once the warm weather returns.
- Start or add to your compost pile
A compost pile can help you create natural food for your garden and yard with discarded organic items. Plants that you have cut back can be added to the compost, as long as they do not appear diseased. This time of year is a great time to add to or start your compost pile. You will have plenty of items to get it started since you are cleaning out your garden. In addition, the compost pile will have the winter to decompose and develop into something that will help your spring garden grow.
- Apply a layer of mulch to your garden
Once you have cut back your plants and cleaned up the garden it is time to add a layer of mulch. A layer of winter mulch will protect the soil and roots of your plants. You can use items from your own yard to create winter mulch. For example, pine needles or chopped up leaves can be used as winter mulch. Put down a six inch layer in your garden to protect the roots of the perennial plants in your garden.
The basic steps for preparing your garden for the winter will make a big difference in the spring. They will help reduce the likelihood of spreading disease and pest infestation to the new growth in the spring. In the spring, you will be thankful that you took the extra time to prepare your garden for winter.