In a previous post we discussed preparing your lawns and gardens for the cooler season. Now, a bit further into that cooler season, winter looming ahead, our thoughts tend to turn from Fall to the cold, bitter and dark months that stand between now and all the blooming glory and color and beauty of the coming Spring.
Ah, winter. Not the most comfortable time to be outside enjoying our lawns and gardens. However, we can at least use the last working days of October and November to ensure that our lawns, gardens, landscapes and flower beds are in the best possible position for us to maximize our gardening enjoyment once the weather turns back to our favor next spring. Hopefully the tips and ideas below can help put you in position to do just that.
In the Garden
- Pull out all dead and dying vegetables as well as the weeds. Your Original Garden Weasel is a great tool to help with removal, along with your Garden Claw. Add the debris to the compost pile unless there were diseases present, in which case debris should be put in the garbage. Rake and shred fall leaves and spread a layer several inches thick over the vegetable garden area. Or you can combine shredded leaves with compost or dehydrated cow manure, then till it into the soil now or in the spring.
- START a compost bin! With all the garden debris presenting itself at this time of year, it’s prime time to compost. Simply layer brown matter such dried leaves and straw with green materials such as kitchen vegetable scraps and weeds (without seeds). Toss a handful of soil on top and water in.
- Before (within 4-6 weeks, preferably) the ground freezes, you will want get spring bulbs planted and watered in, as well as any dividing, replanting, or transplanting of perennials or shrubs.
- Watch your roses; once they go dormant, prune them back, along with your perennials (unless you have coneflowers, or the like, that will flower throughout the winter) – just be careful not to prune your spring blooming shrubs and losing next year’s spring flowers!
In the Yard
- There is no question that compost is the best amendment for soil, but leaf mold is also a worthy additive and much easier to make. Simply corral leaves in an out-of-the-way spot, or rake them into large piles where they can sit and decay over time, usually 6 to 12 months. Dampen the entire pile and periodically add water during dry spells. If you’re impatient, hasten the process by turning the pile occasionally or covering it with a tarp to preserve moisture and warmth.
- Prune trees and hedges. Take
care of dead limbs and branches by thinning weak limbs and areas now before snow, ice, or soggy rain does for you, potentially causing damage.