WINTERIZING YOUR GARDEN
As winter starts, it is time to prepare your garden to ensure that it withstands the cold weather and flourishes next spring. You may be tempted to leave it unattended until the winter season is over because of the sudden change in weather or because you would not enjoy gardening in the cold. But, during the cold season, there is still a lot that goes on under the soil. Shrubs, trees, bulbs, and perennials grow roots that soak up essential soil nutrients and water. As such, winterizing the garden is important to ensure that its nutrients and water features are protected. Moreover, the garden stays prepared for the next planting season.
Garden winterizing tips
Prepare your perennials by cutting dry stems and digging up tender bulbs. These two activities will get rid of spores and pests that may still be around. Use plant debris as compost but be on the lookout for green plants with diseased foliage. Once winter kicks in and the ground is completely frozen, add a layer of organic matter as mulch. Mulch boosts soil fertility, health, and moisture preservation. Chopped leaves and pine needles protect roots from succumbing to the adverse temperature changes. Ensure that you protect bulb beds with evergreen boughs. Bulb beds are more susceptible to cracking soil and shifting temperature.
The first to do when preparing your garden to plant vegetables next spring is checking the soil pH. Use a pH kit or tester to ensure that your soil pH falls between 6.3 and 6.9. In case it below this range, add lime to boost its acidity and sulfur if it’s too low. Pull bean, pea, squash and tomato plants and compost them before it starts to freeze. Remove all debris and weeds to prevent pests and diseases from thriving. Tilting the soil gently exposes pests and insects that burrow down for winter.
The period just before winter kicks in is an ideal time to add nutrient-rich compost and manure. The nutrients get to mix in with the soil adequately before the next planting season arrives. If you are practicing organic gardening, ensure that all the manure or compost you use is natural and does not contain weed seeds.
Waterproof garden water features
If the temperatures get below freezing point within your area, prepare your water fountains and features for the harsh weather ahead, many water features may be designed to withstand harsh winter climate, ensure that all remaining water is removed before the season begins. Leftover water can freeze to the point where it causes the water pump to crack. Where possible, store the water fountain in the shed, garage or somewhere out of the harsh climatic elements. If you have a large outdoor feature, place a UV-stabilized and waterproof protective cover over it to keep moisture away.
Once you have winterized your garden entirely, remember to clean your gardening tools. Also, sharpen them ahead of the next planting season. Oil metal parts to prevent rusting due to excess moisture and limited usage and protect the wooden parts with linseed oil. Do not wait until the last minute to winterize your garden. Organic gardening is all about preparation and caring for your garden soil.