Winter is a harsh season for gardeners. While you can enjoy the benefits of your summer garden all year round, during winter, chances are there will be little to nothing growing in your garden.
However, this does not mean that taking care of your garden during winter is less important than at other times of the year. Here are some tips on how to do so.
1. Clean Up the Garden
Once fall is over, it’s time to clean up your garden. Clear all leaves that have fallen into your garden and dispose of them. Rake up any remaining leaves in the garden beds. Don’t let debris sit for too long, as it can eat up all the nutrients in your garden soil.
If you want to maximize the raked and fallen leaves, consider making compost:
- Collect the leaves and put them in a compost bin or pile.
- Once enough, let it decompose and occasionally turn the pile to hasten the process.
- Transfer what you have left — now called compost — into your garden beds and mix with the existing soil. Use this fertilizer to help plants grow healthier and sturdier.
While we’re on the topic of raking and cleaning, clean your garden tools, including shovels and hoes. Use a wire brush to remove dirt clinging to spades and other tools, and then wipe them dry with a cloth before storing them in an airy place (not the steel shed!). It will ensure that they are ready for use in the spring.
2. Trim the Grass
What happens to grass during winter? Well, it dies. However, most people do not bother trimming their garden grasses in winter because they think there is no point when the grass isn’t even growing. During winter, there are benefits to doing this, like weed control and cutting back on pests’ habitats.
Also, if you want your lawn to have a lush, green look next spring, then winter is the perfect time to trim it. After all, your grass won’t grow any taller anyway.
To do this, find the best electric lawnmower. Ideally, it would help if you did this in mid-winter (mid-December) when the grass has already died. Push the mower over the grass to clear away dead patches. If followed by rainfall or snowfall, then you can skip that part and let Mother Nature soften your grass further before cutting it back.
3. Check on Your Plants and Fertilize as Needed
Before winter arrives, check on your plants and remove any dying or dead leaves immediately. This is a crucial step to take. Dead leaves may attract pests, which pose a risk to your plants.
You can also cut down on this risk by removing any diseased leaves. While checking for dying or dead leaves, take note of any plants that need fertilizing. When applying fertilizers, take note of these tips:
- Do this after the last frost.
- Only add fertilizer when your plants need it (don’t add regularly).
- Make sure that fertilizers adhere to the package instructions on application rates.
- Protect your garden by applying mulch all over the soil. Covering exposed roots and the earth itself will keep the ground warm and prevent weeds from growing.
4. Drain Water from the Pots and Cover the Plants
All potted plants, especially those not frost-resistant, should be drained of standing water. The presence of this water will cause the soil to freeze.
Then cover your plants. If your potted plants are frost-resistant, you may choose to cover them with plastic film to protect them from the cold. Make sure that all branches and parts of your plant are covered.
When covering them, remember these:
- Do not use plastic film that is too thick.
- Do not cover the leaves of plants, only the trunks.
- Use clamps or plant ties to secure the covering material in place.
- Cut slits into the plastic film to allow your plants to “breathe.”
5. Water Your Garden Every Other Day During Winter
Ensure that your garden has enough water during winter. It may be a problem as you also need to ensure that the soil does not freeze, but here’s how you can do it:
- Leave a small area of soil uncovered. Water this regularly until water is seen dripping from the bottom of the pot or from where the plant is growing. It will ensure that your plants are watered enough but remain safe from frost damage.
- For potted outdoor plants, place the pot under running water (if your hose can reach it) or submerge it in a tank filled with heated water. Remember not to use boiling water as this may crack your pots! For flower beds with not frost-resistant plants, apply at least 6 to 8 inches of mulch to prevent the soil from freezing.
Now that you know the best ways to care for your garden during winter, put them all into action and make sure that your plants will be ready and prepped for spring!