Your garden has done its job, sprouting tomatoes and mint so you could make summer salads and mojitos. Now it’s time to give your garden a break by putting it to bed for the winter. Do this right and it will be rested and ready when the weather gets warm again.
Since it’s tempting to skip these last-minute chores – baking pumpkin pie sounds so much better than gardening when it gets chilly, after all – hire a Thumbtack gardener to swoop in and make sure your garden is ready for next growing season.
Clean and Cover
Click on your nearest gardener and ask them to clear any blackened stems and foliage from your annual flowers and vegetables. To keep your garden healthy through the winter, they should also cut diseased foliage from evergreen plants and shrubs and discard it. Rake up any old, disease-bearing mulch and get rid of that too.
After everything old is cleared, you need a thick layer of new mulch to protect plants and soil from winter freezes and thaws. If you have shade or pine trees, the fallen leaves and needles can be used as mulch. Beds of bulbs can be strewn with evergreen boughs to protect the soil from shifting and cracking during the winter. If you grow vegetables, renew beds for fall planting by adding more compost and mulching empty beds to protect the soil.
If you have roses, consider finding a gardener who will manage these high-maintenance plants. They’re tender and need a bit of extra love, like removing all the old mulch and spreading fresh wood chips, shredded bark or chopped leaves around the base. After the ground freezes, add more mulch. Keep adding mulch after every freeze. Eventually the mulch will virtually cover the whole rose bush.
Protect Baby Trees
Young trees should have their stems or trunks wrapped with wire or commercial tree-guard products. Evergreens should be screened from winter wind by burlap screens or cloth shelters.
Stop Cutting Things
Stop pruning and cutting blossoms in the autumn so you don’t stimulate any new growth that will be killed by the first frost.
Don’t Forget the Sprinklers
Your sprinklers are as susceptible to the cold as your petunias – they can rust, freeze, and otherwise be compromised if left in the snow untended. Lucky for your lawn, there’s a whole category of pros who specialize in sprinkler system winterization.
Is your garden ready for winter?