Just because summer is over doesn’t mean that your garden is finished for the year.
There is still some work to be done and the garden needs a little more attention and care before it can rest in the winter.
If you take care of these tasks in the late season, make sure that your plants and soil stay healthy in the cold, dark months.
And when spring comes, your garden is ready and ready to go, so you can get started right away!
Now let’s look at 11 things to do in the garden before winter sets in.
1. Dig out or mulch root vegetables
Like many plants in the cool season, root vegetables can take one or two frosty periods and are still harvested in good condition.
In fact, most root crops – such as Beets, CarrotsCelery root, Parsnips, and Rutabagas (but not potatoes) – Sweet taste when left in the ground to ripen at temperatures near freezing.
And if you have well-drained soil that doesn’t freeze, many can be left in place over the winter to be dug and enjoyed as needed.
Cover vegetable patches with a thick 6-inch layer of dry mulch to facilitate digging root crops and protect them from hard frost. Cardboard, fern fronds, evergreen branches or clean straw provide good insulation that is easy to move around when you want to access your vegetables.
In regions where the ground freezes, dig out root vegetables, brush off the dirt and store in a cool, dark place before the ground freezes.
2. Cover frost tender plants
In the coldest months or when you expect a hard frost, tender perennials, tropics and succulents benefit from the protection of their leaves and stems.
This also applies to perennials where crowns and roots such as z clematis, Grapevines and Roses.
Use any material that offers lightweight, breathable insulation. Blankets, burlap, evergreen branches, fronds, floating row covers, Landscape fabric and straws are all suitable for wrapping plants. (Stooks are upright bundles of blades of grain or grass that resemble a tipi.)
To protect delicate crowns, use a dry mulch of shredded bark, evergreen branches, fern fronds, sawdust or straw to cover every crown / crown of every plant.
Stack and stack the mulch over the crown and base of the stems, covering the first 12 to 18 inches or the entire height of shorter plants.
The crown is the base of the plant. The area where the stems and roots meet and energy and nutrients for growth are transferred from the roots to the top. Many plants have their crowns near the ground and expose them to the winter cold.
Remove the covers as soon as the risk of frost is over.
3. Split perennials
After your perennials have finished flowering, they will enjoy some attention before resting for the season.
Clean the plants from broken or dead stems and cut back as needed. The amount depends on the plant. As a rule of thumb, however, remove 1/4 to 1/3 of the top growth.
Divide the plants into quarters, thirds or halves and cut off excess root growth.
Prepare new business areas and plant them as described in our Guide to dividing perennials.
4. General cleanup
General cleaning helps organize your garden, keeps plants healthy, and returns soil to homeostasis by removing a variety of pests – including potentially harmful bacteria, fungi, and larvae that like to overwinter in the waste of dead and rotting vegetation.
Some important tasks to take care of:
- Remove and dispose of yearbooks.
- Deadhead and trim shrubs and woody shrubs made from dead or damaged wood.
- Remove any leaves or plant remains from the beds.
- Empty the outer containers from the bottom and store them upside down.
- Remove the hose nozzles and sprinkler heads and store them in one place – like a bucket in your flower shed.
- Remove standing water on a warm day from garden hoses, then roll up and store hoses.
- Drain irrigation systems as required and make them winter-proof.
- To avoid brown spots in the lawn, Spreadsheets temperatures set in before freezing.
5. Lift cold tender onions, tubers and tubers
Delicate summer and autumn flower bulbs like dahlias and cannas give the garden an excellent color, but many need to be lifted and stored to survive freezing temperatures.
This includes plants like:
- Calla lily
- Canna lily
- Elephant ear
- Tuberous begonias
After a slight frost, but before the ground freezes, remove dead leaves and carefully lift onions, tubers, and tubers from the ground. To lift the bulbs without damage, insert a garden fork around the drip line of the plant (the outer edge of its growth) and gently pry it up. Shake off any excess dirt, rinse it off with the garden hose and let it dry in the direct sun for a day or two.
Sort and throw together the bulbs that have shrunk, are soft, or are damaged.
Store in ventilated containers lined with loose material such as crumpled newspaper. Peat moss, Sawdust or vermiculite.
Label the containers with their contents and date and store them in a cool, dark place so that you can plant them out in spring.
6. Plant cover plants
Cover crops – such as clover, cereals, grasses and legumes – are planted in late summer to rejuvenate the soil by adding important nutrients.
After your harvest is finished, remove dead and used plants and weeds. Until the soil is light to loosen the top six inches, then sow your chosen seeds and water well.
For the domestic vegetable patch, choose plants that grow quickly, spread out to stifle weeds, and that can be easily planted in the ground in spring.
Some suggestions are:
- Purple clover
- Broad beans
- Winter wheat
You can Read more about the art of cover cropping here.
7. Plant spring onions and autumn garlic
Spring onions and autumn garlic can be planted at any time in autumn, but must go in before the ground freezes. This includes bluebells, Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Fritillaria, Grape hyacinthGreek windflower hyacinth, Tulips, snowdrop, and so on.
In areas where the temperature does not drop below freezing, you should plant the bulbs by the beginning of November so that the roots can take enough time before winter sets in.
The rule of thumb for onions is to plant them at a depth three times the height of the onions. This is how a 2-inch onion is planted to a depth of 6 inches.
For each type of onion, position the large or flat end down in the planting hole and the pointed or narrow end up. In the case of bulbs with no recognizable top or bottom, plant them on the side like Greek windflowers to allow easy growth.
You can Read more about garlic cultivation here.
8. Prepare the winter beds for easier spring work
To prepare flower and vegetable beds for winter, remove any dead or finished plant material, including rotting fruit, vegetables, and weeds.
Until the ground is light to reveal unfriendly larvae that want to hibernate, such as Japanese beetle.
Add and dig in a 2-inch layer of well-rotted compost or manure.
Test floor level to determine if additional nutrients are needed and to change them as needed.
Autumn is also a good time to create new beds or expand the garden space. For more fresh ideas, see our growing guides Square feet of gardens and make your own DIY raised beds.
After the ground is frozen, add a lump of mulch to the clumps of herbs and perennials.
9. Prune and Mulch Berry Patches
Strawberry plants tolerate light frosts, but have flat roots and can easily be damaged by hard frosts and cold spells.
Protect plants with a 3 to 5 inch thick layer of clean straw, finely chopped leaves, or pine branches. Apply after the first strong frost before the ground freezes. Mulching too early can suffocate plants, and if applied too late, plants can suffer cold damage.
Protecting raspberries and blackberries from the cold depends on the type of sugar cane you grow.
Both have perennial roots and crowns, but the sticks only live for two years. The first year of growth is when Primocanes form and sticks are known as Floricanes in the second year.
Floricans bloom with raspberries and produce summer berries on two-year-old sticks that have to be cut directly to the ground after harvesting. The remaining 1 year sticks should be cut back to 3 feet. The best time to do this is in autumn, when you can still tell the difference between the two.
After cutting back the 1-year-old sticks, gently bend them to the ground and hang 3 to 4 inches of earth or mulch over the sticks to protect them from frost and drying winds. Remove the floor slowly after the risk of frost is over in the spring.
Primocane raspberry plants produce a summer harvest on two year old sticks and an autumn harvest on new ones. To enjoy both cultures, prune the sticks and cover them with soil in the fall, like Floricanes.
In regions with extremely cold winters, however, it is easier for Primocanes to cut all sticks to the ground in autumn. This means that you lose your summer berry harvest but have a bigger and better autumn harvest – and without the hassle of offering winter protection.
Blackberries also put fruit on 2-year-old floricans and come in two forms of growth, upright and lagging – upright plants are harder and more tolerant of cold weather.
With upright varieties, cut most of the 1-year-old sticks to the ground in late autumn, leaving 3 or 4 of the most sturdy sticks of each plant in place. Cut the remaining sticks back to 18 to 24 inches and apply a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch to protect the crowns.
Trailing varieties are pruned like Primocane raspberries. Cut the sticks back to 3 feet, then carefully lay them on the ground and cover them with a thick 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch.
10. Maintain the compost heap
In order to keep the compost viable in the cold months, the microbes in the compost heaps must be kept active – which means that the temperatures must be kept above freezing.
In regions with an occasional cold period, apply one last time and water active compost heaps before hard frosts occur. Then stack layers of insulating material such as cardboard, evergreen branches, sawdust or straw so that the core does not freeze.
In areas with prolonged freezing, harvest ripe compost in the fall and use it as nutrient-rich garden mulch. Add more kitchen garbage to your stack in winter – these will freeze until spring before you can start layering materials again.
In milder regions, moisture control is often more important than insulation. Cold, soaked rain can drench compost and wash away nutrients and important microbes.
To protect against soaking rain, first stack the compost in a pile. Or place two or three pots in a row in the middle for containers. Then drape with a tarp and spread over the edges. Attach or secure the tarpaulin.
Extend the life of your garden tools by maintenance at the end of the season.
Use a stiff wire brush to remove dirt from metal utensils. Rub rust stains with sandpaper.
Rub metal Parts with an oiled rag Condition steel and avoid rust. Then remove excess material with a dry cloth and polish if necessary.
Sharpen the edges of garden forks, hoes, scythes, scissors, shovels and spades.
Oil hinges, pins, wheels or moving parts on tools such as screws, hair clippers, Scissorsor wheelbarrows.
Write down and add any tools that need to be replaced your wish list.
Store in a dry place after cleaning.
Enjoy the rest
As soon as all your tasks are done before winter, you can sit back and enjoy the peace and relaxation that winter brings.
Spend some time thinking about it Your diary notes and seed catalogs, then dream big of the garden projects of the next year!