It’s tempting to think that once that first frost starts to arrive in fall, you are done with gardening for the year. Your bulbs are planted for next spring, you’ve harvested the last of your veggies, there’s nothing to do until it gets warm again, right? Wrong.
Although you may have to bundle up while outside in the cooler months of October and November, a little ground work – including cleaning, maintenance and planning – will save you a great deal of time and effort when gardening season rolls around next spring.
Here’s an end of year gardening check list to prepare your garden for its winter snooze and allow you to enjoy a little more time outdoors.
- Rake up debris. In addition to making your yard and garden look tidy, removing fallen leaves from around the base of trees and shrubs lessens the chance of their spreading damaging fungus and disease to next year’s garden. For that reason, don’t use fallen leaves as mulch. We recommend bark mulch instead.
- Add winterizer fertilizer to trees, shrubs, perennials, flower beds, and lawn.
- Have your irrigation system winterized by a professional. (Warner’s Landscape Company would be happy to help! Call them at 928-774-5911.)
- If you have ponds or water features, give any fish you have the vitamins they need for hibernation; bring pump and filter indoors; drain the excess water out of lines and clean up any debris. Protect or bring in other water, such as bird baths and fountains, draining and cleaning them prior to storing.
- Outside potted plants should be brought in if they are susceptible to cold weather. Pots remaining outside should be insulated. Make sure that you keep watering during the winter.
- After you’ve cleaned out your vegetable garden, apply a layer of compost, which will break down over the winter, making your spring preparation much simpler.
- For your garden beds, remove annuals and debris and cut back unsightly perennials to slightly above ground level.
- Add mulch around trees (leaving some space around the trunks) and up to the cane on roses and shrubs.
- Last but not least, give your tools some love. Clean and oil them and bring them indoors for the winter.
I hope this checklist helps as you wind down the season and this year’s garden.