Putting your garden to bed after a bountiful harvest, just before the snow comes, is a very important, even crucial phase, to prepare for the next spring’s gardening activity. It’s a great time for cleaning up, assessment of plant’s health and packing up all the unnecessary stuff, until spring. You can gradually do this starting at mid-October, until you actually see the first snow fall. Here are some basic advice you can follow this year.
- Collect, dry and save seeds for next year
Saving seeds is a great way to save and produce the same plants you had last year. It’s easy. Although like planting, you have to consider several key points to make sure the seeds don’t die, while in storage. Make sure the seeds are dry, before keeping them or else they’ll invite molds. There are available packs in the market meant for seed storage purposes. Another option is to use glass jars, paper or plastic bags. Don’t forget to store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Certain environment conditions like heat and moisture can affect the seeds viability.
- Cutting Back
After a frost, start by cutting back the perennial plant parts that show signs of disease or infestations. Immediately throw them in the trash and don’t use them as compost. However, dead debris of healthy plants that were killed during the frost can go directly into your pile of compost.
- Clear up areas that are overgrown with weeds
This will prevent animals and pests from finding a shelter there, over the winter. By doing this, you will make your spring gardening work a lot easier too. Don’t forget to clean up all used tools and containers, before storage.
You can take advantage of the time before the soil finally turns hard. Sow garlic, spinach, or rhubarb. Your neighbors will surely get envy when they’re just starting to plant and you’re already up for harvesting. Also, transfer plants like herbs in a pot, to be put indoors.
Mulching is one of the best activities you can do before winter. This will protect your perennial plants from chilling temperatures. Leaves make a good mulch, but make sure they are finely chopped, since full leaves create a mat that won’t let water in. Gardeners say that straw is the best mulch because it keeps your garden bed well insulated.
Finally, you’ll be glad you’ve done your homework, as soon as spring returns. You’ll have a lot more time to do more spring activities because your garden will look need and tidy, plant ready and well-prepared for the new season.