How to Winterize your Garden Part 2
Baby the beds
After ensuring that your garden is neat and replanting the divided plant, add about 4 inches of compost to the beds. Beneficial mulch nutrients will leach into plant beds during heavy winter rains. The compost also ensures that the plants get enough nutrients and grow into healthy crops later on when they are planted in the main garden. Additionally, compost remnants can be mixed with garden soil during spring as you prepare for the next growing season.
Mulch is important for newly cultivated perennials that have not developed a strong root system. It is advisable to wait for the ground starts to freeze before adding a thick mulch layer among other late season garden winterization additions. The thick mulch layer keeps the garden soil cold or frozen until spring arrives. It does this to prevent soil thaw/freeze cycles that result in ground heaving and end up uprooting newly planted crops. Check the mulch often to ensure that it has not thinned out due to winter winds and if need be, keep adding the mulch to maintain a thick layer.
If you experienced a dry autumn, deep soaks are recommended during fall. Conifers like yews or evergreens with broadleaves like boxwoods and hollies are highly susceptible to winter burns since they discharge moisture via the leaves all year round. So, it is advisable to pay close attention to them because they rely on a south/ southwest afternoon sun exposure. Remember to keep them well hydrated.
Protect young tree barks
Newly planted trees are not well established meaning that they have thin barks that are susceptible to sun scald or cracks due to the fluctuating day and night temperatures. To protect your trees from the harsh winter weather, use available tree protectors or tree wrap tape.
Create wind breaks
Exposed evergreens are highly prone to wind damage. In fall and before the garden starts to freeze, push three stakes in the ground directing them towards the wind strong side of the plants you wish to protect from wind breaks. Place them in a V shaped formation and ensure that the front stake faces the wind and landscape fabric or wrap burlap.
Though shrubs are believed to be hardy, they should be protected prolonged winter snows and freezes. Wrap them with agricultural fabric or burlap to prevent them from freezing and remember to remove the fabric once the temperature starts to rise to prevent the plants from overheating. Note that, plastic bags are never an alternative to the recommended fabric because they do not have room for ventilation meaning that they can cause high plant temperatures that can cook the plant. If agricultural fabric or burlap are unavailable, consider using a simple teepee that can be placed over the shrubs and under eaves. Place the teepee during fall and cover shrubs with a cloth to protect them from snow.
The main rule for winterizing your water feature is not allowing its pipes to freeze. To avoid this, it is advisable to seek guidance from garden pond maintenance gurus on whether your pump can move water with ease all winter and if it should be disconnected and stored together with the pond plants.
It is possible to continue harvesting and enjoying fresh garden vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and beets among others amidst the harsh winter snows and freezes. Use burlap and wire hoops to create a cold frame and use it to cover your vegetables until the harsh climate subsidies.
There are many garden winterization tricks that a gardener can use to protect their crops and garden. Though all winterization methods require extra hard work, you just need to choose methods that you are comfortable with, and you are certain will protect your garden.