Fall Guide to Winter
This is the portion of the year I dislike the most. I try and find any reason I can not start my fall prep. Which is why I have a fall guide to winter checklist. Something I can cross off in stages.
It’s not the cooler weather I detest, because I love to wear soft, fuzzy sweatshirts. I enjoy football games, the beautiful tree colors and even the prep work that goes hand in hand with the fall weather.
When Is It Time To Call It Quits For the Year?
When the nighttime temperatures drop to less than forty-five degrees Fahrenheit for more than four days in a row or frost is forecasted for your area (usually around late October or November) you know its time to begin preparing your garden.
Evaluate Your Garden & Document
Evaluate your garden designs by checking which plants grew well in the past season, and which plants didn’t do so well.
Make notes deciding which plants will remain in your garden next year and which ones will go.
Right now is the perfect time to draw up a sketch while deciding which new plants to grow next year. This step will only make your garden more colorful and healthy.
Below is a listing of tasks that will need to be completed before I can claim it has been another successful year.
Vegetable Garden Prep
• Pull out weeds that may have cropped up, and rake fallen
leaves. Weeds and rotten leaves can carry insects and diseases that might be harmful to your garden.
• Dig up horseradish root and other plants that cannot withstand the winter weather.
• Plant any vegetables or herbs you can. I plant my garlic in ground plant 8 inches apart at a 4-inch depth and mulch well or you can plant garlic in containers.
• Amend the soil adding rich compost and turn the soil in the vegetable garden. Apply pre-emergent herbicide
Flower Garden Prep
• Divide perennials and cutting them back to 6-8 inches
• Collect any flower seeds you wish.
• Non-hardy bulbs, such as cannas, geraniums, begonias, dahlias, and gladiolus, should be removed from the ground and pots. Let the bulbs dry out in the sun for a few hours before storing them in a cool, dry place for the winter, such as a basement.
• Take in any plants like succulents and turn all clay flower pots upside to prevent water from pooling, causing the pots to expand and contract, cracking pots.
• Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to all flower gardens.
• Over mulch perennial flower gardens. Being careful to spread at root bases of plants that still have healthy green leaves.
Yard & Trees
• Collect pinecones. I’m telling you, if you don’t you will be digging them out of the snow for a project or two later when you are snowed in.
• Disconnect the water hoses and drain all water from the hose. Put away for storage.
• Before winter comes you should always set out slug repellent, as slugs are one of the worst bugs to have in your garden.
• Rake up and compost leaves. Cage trunk of trees if you have critter problems.
• Prune fruit canes like raspberries and blackcaps.
Replacing Garden & Yard Tools With Winter Ones
• Mow the lawn for the last time before winter. Fill all gas tanks and add fuel stabilizer to gas of any equipment.
• Edge lawn to prevent buckling and cracking of sidewalks and driveway.
• Winterize lawn.
• Once you are finished with your gardening tools you should sharpen and oil all gardening tools.
• Time to get out your snow shovels and use this tip for waxing them. Also, don’t forget to buy salt.
• Get your snowblower running. If you have issues right now they will have time to fix it.
Mulching and Protecting Plants
Mulch garden for the winter can be a helpful way to protect plants from sudden temperature changes and heavy snow.
• Use about five inches of shredded bark, pine needles, or a variety of other materials.
• Be careful not to mulch too early, because some insects may still be alive and able to take shelter in it for the winter.
Trim Tree Branches
After the leaves will be off your trees and you can see the rotten branches.
Trimming unwanted branches from your trees isn’t necessary to the health of your garden, but may help later on by not dropping branches on your plants and not blocking too much of the sun. Not sure what tool is right for the job? Let me guide you.
Ponds and Fountains
Nobody likes to see their fish frozen solid. Take out any fish that you have and bring them inside.
If you have a bubbling system set up to keep the water from freezing solid. Test it.
If I follow this fall guide to winter I’m assured that next spring I can start with a fresh slate. Everything properly cleaned and put away.
Next year I will know exactly where to find all my tools and that they will be in the perfect working order.
Now, get out and start your own fall yard tasks.