By Dawne Parslow of Parslow Greenhouse Getting started: With the temperatures dropping, it is time to get outside to give your yard a little TLC before winter hits. Here are eight steps you can do now to jump start your garden next spring.
- Stop fertilizing trees and give them a good soak to ensure that they are well hydrated all winter. Remove any dead limbs, however; wait for spring to prune
- Harvest all fruits, vegetables and herbs. Collects any seeds for drying to use in the future; it is best to store these in an air tight container in the freezer. Carrots, horseradish, leeks, parsnips and turnips can be left in the garden for harvesting throughout the early winter; frost makes these vegetables taste sweeter.
- Build a simple composting system. Anything that was once living can be composted, but it is best to avoid composting meat, dairy and cooked food because these items will attract pests.
- Clean out all annuals and weeds before they go to seed. Add these items to your compost. Dispose any diseased foliage to prevent further contamination and do not compost these items.
- Gently till your vegetable garden soil and add mulch to maintain quality; mulch can contain seedless weeds, grass clippings, leaves and straw.
- Now is a good time to make changes to your perennial bed while the information is still fresh in your mind. Divide, move, and replant older perennials and feel free to add some new ones too. Cut back any perennials that have gone dormant and remove bulbs for winter storage, being careful not to damage the roots.
- Protect your plants during the winter months, cover perennials with mulch, try using deer netting on ornamentals and berry bushes and wrap cedar trees if required.
- Plant fall bulbs and garlic, the sooner the bulbs are in the ground, the sooner they will put down their roots.
Now that your garden is put to bed for the winter, you can relax and start planning for next year!