Once the last autumn harvest is complete and the temperatures start dropping, you may think that your gardening work is done for the year. However, that’s not quite the case. There are plenty of things to accomplish before the snow starts flying, including the items on this handy list:
1) Clean up your garden. Removing weeds, the remnants of annual plants and non-hardy plant bulbs from the ground is just the beginning. Pick up dead leaves from your trees that have fallen into the garden, along with any other debris that might have found its way there. Then spread out a layer of mulch on the ground around the bases of any shrubs or trees in order help them survive the cold temperatures.
2) Water your garden. Before the ground freezes (but after you have spread out your layer of mulch) water the ground surrounding any shrubs, trees or perennials that are being left in the ground for the winter. This gives them a good dose of moisture that will prevent them from drying out too much once the weather turns frosty.
3) Winterize all of your trees, shrubs and perennials. Wrap the trunks of your trees and bases of your shrubs with burlap in order to insulate them from the cold and keep them from getting wind-burnt. Remove any dead branches from your trees, and prune them back into the shapes that you desire, but make sure not to do so too early in the fall – wait until just before the first snowfall to be on the safe side. Cut back your perennials until they are about 7 or 8 inches long in order to save yourself from having to trim them in the spring, when you’ll have enough to do.
4) Clean and store your gardening tools. Wash each of them thoroughly, and dry them with a soft towel. Sharpen any points that are no longer sharp from use, repair any broken handles, and make a list of tools that need to be replaced. Coil up your hose, making sure that there is no more water inside of it, and then store it, and all of your other tools, in a cool, dry place, like a basement, garage or storage shed.
5) Plan next years’ garden. This is the time to dream. Figure out which fruits and vegetables that you’d like to plant and order seeds for them. You’ll have to start growing seedlings in your basement or kitchen soon enough. You can also plan out which flower beds you’d like to rearrange, and which flowers you’d like to plant in them.
6) Grow plants indoors! Many vegetables, for example cherry tomatoes, sprouts, leaf lettuce, most herbs and green and red peppers can be grown in containers indoors during the winter, providing you with fresh vegetables year-round. However, make sure to place them in a room that receives plenty of natural sunlight, or use a grow light, otherwise the tomatoes and peppers will not grow properly.
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