Especially with our good friend, Punxsutawney Phil declaring that winter is going for another six weeks, if you haven’t figured out the best way to maintain your garden during winter, it’s not too late to start. As you are likely aware, most common plants in your garden don’t do well on their own in cold weather. You have to put in additional effort to ensure that your plants will survive through the winter months.
Read on to learn how to best maintain your garden during the winter so that you will still have beautiful crops to admire in the spring.
Steps for Preparing Your Garden for Winter
There are several steps you must take to ensure that your garden will survive through the winter. Although you might be able to get by skipping some steps, it’s best to do your due diligence with your plants to ensure that you will continue to have plants.
Clean Up Any Diseased Plants
Although some plants will enrich the soil when they die, if they are diseased, it’s a whole different story. If you had noticed any signs of disease within your crops over the season, now is the time to remove them. Any of your other plants that may have died over the season can remain where they are to enrich the soil (depending on its makeup, this can be used as mulch, which is very helpful to the other remaining plants).
Remove/Weed Out Invasive Weeds
Dig up all those weeds and throw them in the garbage. Note that we said the garbage and not the compost pile. This is because many invasive weeds can keep growing in your compost, and then by next season, you’ll find yourself furiously trying to dig those same weeds up again. Weeds will disrupt your crop, so it’s best practice to remove them as quickly and efficiently as possible!
Rejuvenate Your Soil
Now’s the time to add in soil additions such as manure, compost, and other organic fertilizers. The sooner you add these sorts of additives, the more time they’ll have to break down and enrich your soil, meaning that they’ll be more potent when it comes time to nourish your plants. Once you’ve added the additives, consider mulching your soil to prevent rain from washing away your additions.
Cover Crops for Protection
Cover crops are called such because they are crops that can help break up areas that have compacted dirt, they can help to lower the rate of your soil’s erosion, and they can increase the amount of organic matter that is in your garden, which will improve the health of your crops.
Clean Out and Refill Your Compost
Compost is a great thing to add to your garden. Compost is typically made up of organic materials (such as decomposing fruit, unused food, or chicken bones… all biodegradable things) and when you turn them into compost, you’re returning those nutrients to the earth. If you grab compost that has finished composting in the summer, you may find that this is extremely nutrient-rich and that it’ll be wonderful for your garden.
As a rich material, you can top up the beds in your garden, try to fix any soil that might be deficient in nutrients, and you can also use compost to try and increase the fertilization rate of your grass.
Also, when you use up the compost that has been growing since you last performed this action, you will find that you’ll also be making way for another batch of compost to begin growing. Additionally, there are ways to compost in the winter as well, so that you’ll still be getting that nutrient-rich compost without losing out on it for an entire season.
Maximize Your Mulch
When it comes to your garden, one of the most important elements is mulch. You can mulch in winter or summer, and whenever you do it, your garden will receive benefits. Much can help with water loss prevention, it can prevent or slow down weed growth, and it can help prevent soil erosion.
If you’re not sure how to acquire mulch, that’s all right. There are companies like Ebyland that offer mulch supply and delivery in Meyersdale, PA, and you can find one in your area.
The winter variant of mulch can do those things, but it is more well known for preventing plant roots from moving around too much in the winter. As the temperature fluctuates throughout the winter months, the dirt freezes, unfreezes, hardens, and unhardens. This can cause the roots to shift around a lot in the ground, and it can prevent them from getting the nutrients they need since they keep moving around.
However, if you use a thick mulch layer in your garden, it can act as an insulator that will help your plants regulate their temperatures. This can help to keep your crops alive, and it can keep their roots in place as well.
And good news – once the mulch breaks down, you’ll find that it adds good new nutrients into the soil that will additionally help your plants to grow up healthily.
Mulch and other gardening elements that help to rejuvenate the soil are great additions to your garden and maintain it through the winter, so make sure you’re doing your best to keep your plants healthy and alive.