As the temperatures drop and winter approaches, your flower beds and vegetable gardens need a little TLC to prepare them for the long nap. With just a few steps and a little sweat equity you can winterize your garden so that it will produce beautiful healthy plants next spring. All you need are gardening gloves, a rake and shovel, a wheelbarrow, organic compost or nutrient rich organic topsoil, leaves, and mulch. We used pine bark mini-nuggets however pine straw or other mulching materials work fine as well.
Step 1: Clean out the beds. Remove any weeds. Pull out spent summer annuals (roots and all). Remove any dry brown stalks or dead leaves from perennials. Cut back summer perennials such as hostas, peonies and other summer blooming plants. Ornamental grasses can be left untrimmed for winter interest. Remove any diseased branches and foliage from evergreen plants. If you have a vegetable garden, remove all summer plants and dispose of cuttings or use them in a compost bin.
Step 2: Once your beds are cleaned out. Rake back any old mulch from around remaining plants and bushes. If you are a bulb lover, now is a perfect opportunity to plant your spring bulbs. Spread an even layer of leaves on the entire bed. Yes, leaves are a wonderful soil conditioner and best of all they’re free! Autumn’s fallen bounty are perfect for building healthy soil by improving it’s ability to absorb moisture, increasing the soil’s fertility by creating active microbes and they are also a favorite food of earthworms who help aerate and oxygenate the soil in your garden.
Step 3: Spread an even layer of organic compost or nutrient rich organic top soil over the entire bed. If your beds are large, use a wheelbarrow to move the soil. Use a rake to make sure the covering is even. For your raised bed vegetable garden, this is the final step unless you wish to sow a cover crop to prevent the soil from eroding.
Step 4: Finally, spread 2-3″ of mulch on all of your flower beds to protect plants and soil over the winter months. This will keep the soil temperature even through the winter which helps prevent early budding and the spread of disease.
Step 5: Don’t forget to disconnect your garden hoses to prevent water from freezing in the pipes.
Now you are done. Your lawn is free from leaves and your garden is richer for it. Autumn’s fallen bounty truly is perfect for winterizing your garden.
~Beautiful Home Ideas