With the temperatures going down, fall is the most suitable season to start preparing your garden for winter sleep so that it can blossom again in the spring. Many homeowners decide to put off their gardening efforts until the spring when the days get warmer.
However, it is unnecessary to give up on your garden altogether, especially if your garden is placed under retractable awnings. Besides, there are various frost-tolerant vegetables you can plant in your fall garden in late September or early October.
When it comes to fall garden maintenance, you cannot ignore a set of tasks if you want your garden to withstand cold winter temperatures. They include but are not limited to pulling up dead plants, tilling the soil, spreading cover crops, planting trees and bulbs, and pruning shrubs and trees. Check them out to make sure your garden is ready for the winter!
Pull up Dead Plants
When fall comes, your garden will be full of different plants that are still alive, but not all of them will survive the winter. Pulling up dead plants is one of the most important fall garden care tasks you can do. It will help you clean up your garden, prevent diseases, and prepare your soil for spring planting. When pulling up dead plants, start with perennials that no longer thrive but still have some life left.
Till the Soil
The next step you should take is tilling the soil to prepare it for more cold-tolerant plants. If you have a garden bed more than 50 feet away from your house or garage, you can leave it undisturbed over the winter.
Spread Cover Crops
Cover crops are plants that are sown after harvest to protect the soil from erosion and improve its fertility. While they are technically not part of fall garden care tasks, you should plant cover crops in late summer or early fall to ensure their successful growth. Choose cover crops that can tolerate low temperatures and sunlight deprivation. The most common cover crops are rye, buckwheat, alfalfa, mustard, and radish.
Plant Trees and Bulbs
If you have already purchased trees or bulbs, you can plant them at any time during late September or early October. However, if you plan to purchase them, you might want to wait for a bit, as many plants go on sale during autumn.
If you are planting bare-root plants, dig a hole that is 2-3 times bigger than the size of the root ball, loosen up the soil, and then press back into place. Then water it well. Besides, remember that you should select a shady and wind-protected area for your bare-root plants.
Prune Trees and Shrubs
While spring and summer are the best seasons to prune trees and shrubs, fall is also an excellent time to trim them before they begin to lose their leaves. You should prune them now because their branches could be vulnerable to freezing at this time of the year. So, if you want to help your trees and shrubs survive the winter unscathed, prune them now!
Spread Leaves and Mulch
As soon as you rake up leaves from your yard or garden bed, spread them on top of your soil to keep it warm and moist during winter. Alternatively, if you prefer to use straw or other mulches instead of leaves, rake up leaves and store them in a bag. This way, you can preserve them for later use or quickly dispose of them.
Clean Out Greenhouses and Storage Sheds
While your fall garden preparation for winter starts with pulling up dead plants and tilling the soil, cleanup should be one of the last tasks you perform if you plan to store your gardening tools and equipment in a greenhouse or a storage shed. Prior to storing them away, clean them thoroughly first. Wipe all tools with a damp cloth or hose them down. Also, remove all dirt from the tools and stored seeds and plants.
After cleaning all your tools, pots, and seed packets, store them in a shed or a greenhouse to keep them safe from rodents and pests.
Fall is a busy time for gardeners, as they have to do a lot of things to prepare their gardens for winter. Of course, you can always hire a gardener for this task if you don’t have the time or the energy to take on it yourself. Still, only you can know what your garden needs and how to best take care of it.
If you decide to address all of your gardening needs on your own, remember to complete the seven tasks we mentioned above. Thanks to it, you will ensure that your garden stays in good condition throughout the winter and looks impeccable — regardless of weather conditions.