Garden maintenance is an art that you should perfect if you expect to enjoy a healthy garden across seasons. Garden care calls for knowledge, attitude and perhaps a bit of hard work. Garden maintenance for the upcoming winter season can be easy or challenging depending on the amount of information you have and the way you go about the task. Perhaps you will succeed in postponing the winter effect on your vegetables and flowers by covering them with bedspreads during the cold nights. But the temperatures will dip during day time and impact plant growth.
Annual vegetables are closer to their lifespan and will begin succumbing to successive attack from heavier frosts. It may be tempting to shut your garden gate after summer harvest and spring planting allowing nature to take its own course. But, a more prudent measure would be to take some careful steps before the onset of winter and save significant effort over the longer term. Following are some of the useful tips for preparing your garden for the upcoming winter season.
1. Cleaning up the finished and rotting plants
Old plants not just look untidy but can also harbour pests, fungi and pests. Experts opine that unwanted insects that were feeding on the crops through summer could lay eggs on the leaves and stalk of the plant. Removing the spent plants from the surface of the soil and burying the trenches around the garden (provided they are free from diseases) will prevent pests from getting a hassle-free start when spring arrives. By burying the old plants around your garden also helps in adding organic matter to the soil, thus improving the overall soil health.
2. Get rid of those invasive weeds that have potentially taken hold across the growing season
Weeds on the borders of your garden can cause serious problems if you wait till the end of the winter days. Digging up these unwanted weeds and burning them or burying them deep inside the soil will be a very helpful measure. Remember also that most of the invasive weeds will remain visible in the weed pile or compost heap. Therefore you should resist the urge to merely shift them to a different part of the garden. The only way to prevent further intrusion from these invasive plants is to ensure that they are removed completely, without a trace.
3. Prepare the soil before spring arrives
Are you among the majority of people who wait until the arrival of spring to prepare the soil and make amendments like compost, bone meal, manure, rock phosphate and kelp? But, you should know that when you add nutrients after the onset of spring, the additions get lesser time to commence breaking down and enrich the soil to become biologically active. Another impediment with waiting till the arrival of spring is that you may need to wait for the garden to be dry before working on the soil initially. By starting out this process of garden care early on, you will have lesser work to do when the busy season arrives. Likewise, if you also till the soil, fall is the best time around the year to do this since it would improve the drainage ahead of extreme weather conditions. Once you are done with the amendments during fall, you can keep the surface covered with plastic sheets or other appropriate material to ensure that winter rains do not wash away the amendments. This is particularly important for raised beds since the draining will be more pronounced compared to beds at ground level.
4. Plant cover
Late summer and early fall are good for sowing cover crops such as vetch, rye or clover. These crops are helpful in preventing soil erosion, breaking up compacted regions and increasing organic matter level in the garden beds. Cover crops also help in bringing additional nutrients. Planting field peas or clover in your garden can enhance the availability of nitrogen for the vegetables. As a thumb rule in garden maintenance, cover crops should be planted at least 4 weeks before serious frost starts. If you need help with this, you can consult a professional garden care service for guidance.
5. Prune the perennials
Fall is also ideally suited for trimming some of your perennial plants in the garden but you should be careful to choose only the right ones. Fall pruning can greatly benefit plants such as fennel and researchers have found that spent canes from raspberry plants can continue nourishing the plant through the winter days. Spring pruning is also preferred by blueberries since it helps in protecting the plant from stress and disease. You should also focus the pruning effort on herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme and vegetables like rhubarb and asparagus. A clean up during fall will also the blackberries. To control the vigorous spread of the plant you can remove the crossing or spent canes of Blackberries
Irrespective of your physical location, in this information age, competent help is available at hand and all that you need is to find some quality time browsing through various resources.November 1, 2019