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Nov 08, 2022 9 min read

How to prepare garden for winter season

Whether we like it or not, the colder months of the year are approaching fast and thus, it is time to prepare the garden for winter. Moreover, if you are like most people, you tend to get a bit less energetic after the summer is gone and thus your will to attend to your garden might be nowhere to be found. However, since it is very important to prepare the garden for winter properly, we need to find the motivation to get the job done. A good trick is to think of all the goodies that your garden has produced for you in the past years and use those images as motivation to do what needs to be done. Of course, it also helps if you know what exactly are the most important tasks you need to complete to prepare the garden for winter properly.

Luckily, we did the research so that you can simply follow the guidelines provided herein. By doing so, you will have a lot less work in the Spring and will also ensure that your garden's soil is as nurturing as possible. So, without further ado, let's dive right in.

Plant and Divide Bulbs9 Task to Prepare Garden for Winter

Following are the nine most important tasks to prepare garden for winter. If you can, complete all of them; however, some of them are complementary, thus completing one or the other should be sufficient. Moreover, even though we've numbered the tasks, that doesn't mean that any of them is more important than the other. They all carry significant weight.

#1 Task to Prepare Garden for Winter: Clean up Diseased Plants

The great thing about nature is that it takes care of itself perfectly in many aspects. As such, you can leave many spent plants in place, where they will rot and thus add nutritional value to your garden's soil. Moreover, they will also provide protection for the soil by preventing erosion. However, since garden is a man-made thing, you should make sure to remove diseased plants. That way, you'll prevent disease, pests, and funguses from spreading. Look closely at your garden and if you see any signs of disease or have noticed it during the growing season, remove affected plants.

#2 Task to Prepare Garden for Winter: Remove Invasive Weeds

Since we are busy with crops during the growing season, we often do not have time to remove all of the weeds. As such, now is the best time to complete this task. Dig up all weeds and place them in the trash. You may also smother them underneath garden cloth or tarps. Keep in mind that most invasive weeds easily survive in compost; thus dispose of them in one of the aforementioned manners. That way, you'll have a much better chance of having a weed-free garden next season.

#3 Task to Prepare Garden for Winter: Amend Your Soil

Many people leave this task for the Spring. However, we strongly encourage you to do it before winter. By adding soil amendments like manure or compost or organic fertilizers (e.g., diluted bokashi liquid, bone meal, kelp, rock phosphate, etc.), you add nutrients to your soil. The latter is very important at this time of the year since it will give nutrients time to break down properly and thus enrich the soil, which will become biologically active. Moreover, by amending soil now, you will have one less thing to do in the busy Spring. Furthermore, some of the following tasks (mulching, sowing cover crops, etc.) will help prevent winter precipitation from washing the amendments below the active root zone.

#4 Task to Prepare Garden for Winter: Sow Cover Crops

As their name suggests, cover crops serve as a sort of cover for your garden. Crops like rye, field peas, clover, or vetch tend to be great for that purpose. They prevent soil erosion, increase levels of organic material in garden beds, and break up compacted areas. Moreover, cover crops draw carbon from the atmosphere into the soil and add other nutrients. Furthermore, the best time to plant cover crops is about a month before the first killing frost.

#5 Task to Prepare Garden for Winter: Prune Perennials

Autumn tends to be the best time to trim certain perennial plants; however, this task must be performed with extra care. For one, you must choose the right perennials because some perennials benefit from fall pruning (e.g., fennel), while others do not (e.g., raspberries, blueberries). As a good guideline, focus your fall pruning on roses, rosemary, thyme, sage, asparagus, rhubarb, and blackberries.

#6 Task to Prepare Garden for Winter: Plant and Divide Bulbs

For example, lilies are late bloomers, which means that now is the best time to dig them up and divide any plants that appeared straggly or crowded during the last growing season. Use this technique for immediate transplanting:

  • Dig about 4-8 inches away from the plant's growing stalk and carefully loosen the soil.
  • Then lift bulbs gently and separate bulblets for immediate transplanting.

#7 Task to Prepare Garden for Winter: Use and Regenerate Your Compost

If you've been piling up your bokashi cake or have compost, then it is time to make use of these soil builders. Since the chances are pretty high that your compost is ready after the summer, you may want to make the most of it before winter puts the beneficial microorganisms to sleep. Using your compost, not only add nutrients to the soil, but will also give you a chance to clean out finished compost and make way for another batch. Yes, you can maintain your compost active during winter as well. Just make sure to insulate it against the cold and continue adding your bokashi cake to keep your composting organisms awake throughout the winter.

Use and Regenerate Your Compost#8 Task to Prepare Garden for Winter: Replenish Mulch

By mulching in winter, you will help your garden reduce water loss, inhibit weeds, protect the soil from erosion, regulate soil temperatures and moisture to ease the transition into colder weather, and also protect the roots of your winter crops from frost. Moreover, once the mulch breaks down, it serves as a batch of fresh organic material to build up the soil.

#9 Task to Prepare Garden for Winter: Clean and Sharpen Tools

This may not be directly related to the "prepare garden for winter" tasks; however, it is an important one. If you clean your tools and sharpen them properly in autumn, they will be as good as new in the Spring. On the other hand, if you fail to do so, you will most likely need to buy new tools for the new season, which is not sustainable neither for your pocket nor the planet.

Clean and Sharpen ToolsHow to Prepare Garden for Winter Season - Parting Thoughts

Here you have it; you now know the 9 essential tasks you should complete to prepare garden for winter. We strongly encourage you to do them all. That way, you will enjoy your winter sleep much better knowing that you did your best. Furthermore, you will also have nutrient-rich and thus fertile soil at your disposal, ready to produce delicious organic crops in the next season. As mentioned above, if you have well-insolated compost, you can add a lot of value to it by adding bokashi cake to it. For that purpose, make sure to use a high-quality Bokashi composter for your winter indoor composting.