5 Ways to Protect Your Garden During the Colder Months

Preparing your garden during fall may feel so wrong in many ways. Fall is a time when your plants are in bloom, and everything looks glorious. Winter seems so far-fetched right now, but early preparation of your garden will help protect it and ensure that it survives the cold season.

Before you get to into your winter work boots, here are some techniques to help you prepare and protect your garden.

  1. Repair and Clean Up

Gardening is a fun activity that the whole family can do. Repairing and clean up should be done early so you can be ready for the cold season. Here’s what you can do:

  • Remove dead foliage from the garden beds.
  • Dead plants should not be added to a compost pile. They should be bagged and thrown away with the rubbish.
  • Leaves, flowers or stems that die due to their natural life cycle are good to go in your compost pile.

Fall is the perfect time to do repairs to trellises, greenhouses, beds, and tools. You can also spend this time to prepare for a new garden bed that you can use in the coming spring.

  1. Prepare and Protect Perennials

One way to prepare for the winter is to clean up the garden beds and cover all the plants that aren’t suited for a cold weather. It is their destiny like most vegetables, to die during winter, but perennials, shrubs, and trees go to “sleep”.

Preparation for your garden may or may not be helpful, it depends on your location. Here are some tips:

  • Mulch with dry leaves, compost, cardboard, wood chips, newspaper, or shredded bark four to six inches around the plant’s base.
  • Pull the mulch away from the plants if spring comes early and brings hot temperatures. But leave the mulch there until the frost days are over.
  1. Protect Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs should be protected for the following cold months as these will have a tendency of having sunscald or southwest injury which causes damage by freezing its trunk.

Here are ways to protect them from damages:

  • Use a frame or stakes to hold tarps, burlap or garden fabric to provide winter protection to your shrubs and trees. These covers should cover the plants all the way to their roots. Blankets, drapes, and sheets can be used as plant covers, too.
  • Layers of newspapers and cardboard boxes can be used to cover shrubs while potted plants should be pulled under the porch cover to protect them from frost. Wrap tarp or burlap around very heavy potted plants.
  • Delicate and young trees should be protected by covering them in burlap including their trunks.
  1. Preparing Winter Vegetables

Winter vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, and turnips can withstand the cold season. You can start planting them by seed during early fall so that they are already set as soon the cold weather sets in.

  • In places with mild winters, winter vegetables may not need protection from frost. Otherwise, you need to add row covers to protect these plants.
  • A larger version of row covers is called hoop houses, which is designed to cover the whole garden bed. It can be made by placing PVC pipes outside the beds at equal intervals and cover it with a polyurethane material. Place rocks or bricks at the bottom of the material to keep it in place.
  • Cold frames are also another way to protect the vegetables. Cold frames are like small greenhouses – they are rectangular and don’t have heat. The top is made of glass or plastic to maximize the use of sunlight in the winter. This top can also be opened for ventilation.
  1. Watering in the Winter

Shrubs, trees, and perennials should still be watered in the winter especially if there’s only a little rain. Although many plants are dormant in the winter, there are reasons why they should be watered during the cold months.

  • Shrubs and trees can lose plenty of water during this time of the year, and unless there is enough rainfall, the plants need adequate watering. This means watering them for at least once a month during the cold season to help them keep their soils moist.
  • Dormant plants can also benefit from winter irrigation since they are usually actively growing roots. Giving the soil enough moisture can also help protect both evergreen and dormant plants during cold snaps.
  • Plants’ roots can be damaged if the soil is left dry for a long time even during winter. Don’t forget to watch over plants in containers and under eaves since they can dry out faster than those in garden beds.

 

Final Thoughts

Preparing your garden during fall is beneficial for you and your plants. It may seem hard to believe but fall is the perfect time to prepare for spring. Depending on your location and how much snow it receives, the efforts you do for winter prepping your garden may differ. But giving your plants an added protection can never hurt.

 

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