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Preparing a vegetable or flower garden for the chilly winter months is an important task. As the fall approaches, you should consider your approach to protecting your plants from the winter’s freezing temperatures. Many plants are not capable of making it through the winter months without protection, so you must prepare them. While you tackle the chore of winterizing your plants, you can also take care of other home and garden tasks to get a head start for the spring.
In particular, herbs must be winterized in order to survive the winter in most parts of the country. Most people choose to uproot smaller plants, like herbs and house them inside in pots during the fall and winter months. Once the season is over, these plants can be returned to the garden outside.
Other plants in need of winterizing, like roses, are not so small and may not be easily taken inside. While gardeners and even plant experts often varying in their treatment of roses throughout the winter, most recommend at least adding additional soil around the base of the plant to provide additional warmth for its roots. Adding a non-soil component, like mulch, may provide even more protection.
The third type of plant that needs care during the winter months is the vegetable garden. By the time fall hits, many of the spring and summer vegetables will have run their course. After cleaning up the remainders of these plants, you may choose to plant some of the fall vegetables, such as peas, lettuce, gourds, and greens. Even if you do not decide to plant fall vegetables, a vegetable garden that has been cleaned out will be easier to start in the spring.
It’s best not to forget your lawn and other seemingly robust plants, though. While the changing of seasons and the falling multi-colored leaves that it brings may look beautiful, a layer of dried leaves on your lawn and garden is not healthy for plants. Make sure to schedule periodic times to rake the leaves from your yard so that the leaves do not spend much time covering the lawn. While you tackle this project, also take the opportunity to care for your garden and grass. Weeding in the fall will help you have a better start to the spring planting season – and is certainly easier to do in the fall than in the colder winter months.
One final fall project is to start or continue to feed a compost pile. Composting is an environmentally friendly and easy way to develop moist, healthy soil ideal for a range of plants, herbs, and vegetables. Beginning or adding to a compost pile in the fall gives it plenty of time to develop, ensuring that you will have plenty of ideal soil ready to go for spring planting.