Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10 Ways to Winterize Your Garden

Sorry I didn't write yesterday. I'm working to be better dedicated on Monday's. They are always my hardest days to post.

Now that Autumn is here it is time for us to winterize our gardens just like we winterize our houses.

HowStuffWorks has been my most recent favorite website to literally find how anything works! This morning they are telling us How to Winterize our Gardens!

1. Plant Bulbs
These little lovelies need the time over winter to store nutrients in their roots for next years bloom. The word "bulb" refers to the organ-like shape that these plants start in. Bulbs range from daffodils to tulips and many more. Some are better at with-standing the cold than others, so make sure to check yours out. The blooming for them also vary by type. After you plant them, make sure to insulate them with some shredded leaves (shred your leaves by mowing them) after the first frost. The shredded leaves still give them breathability so it won't smother and kill the grass that is under the insulation. Bulbs are an easy "head-start" to your early planting!

2. Growing or Maintaining Wildflowers
Now is the time to maintain your perennial wildflowers that you have, or plant seeds for some that you want to see spring up next year. Growing and maintaining wildflowers is very similar to that of the bulbs. Mow any of the perennials that you wish to see again next year and insulate it with mulch or shredded leaves. You may even need to water some varieties. To learn more, I would recommend reading more specifically into species that you would particularly like to grow.

3. Herb Cover
This is the time of year when you should pull in your herbs to save for using in the Winter months, and to tend to until replanting next spring. I'll show you which ones I was able to save from the frost this year in a later post. Also- I still had some pepper plants that were still producing, and I would have brought them in the house too if I had a good window space open. Consider, if there are any plants still producing, which ones you would like to shelter to gain the last of the fruiting.

4. Lettuce Varieties
My goal this winter is to read up on the lettuce varieties... how they grow? What they need to flourish? Which ones are good for you? Etc.. They don't need a lot of space, so I feel that this is a good way to still keep veggies growing in the Winter! I will keep you posted on my adventures. Let me know if anyone has tried this out for themselves!

5. Succulent Challenge!
Succulents/Cacti are plants that need very little maintenance. Someone tell me if they have any great Succulents growing! Plant these guys to liven up your house to defeat the winter dull. I challenge you to name them! Why not even greet them in the morning! It has been proven that plants grow better when communicated with, weather its you singing to them, or them even hearing music. They just want some love!

6. Water Features
If you have any water features that can be damaged from the winter. You should consider winterizing these so you can enjoy them again next year. Shut down the water and remove the pump. Place the pump in a bucket of water to prevent seals from cracking.

7. Ground Cover
Ground cover are things such as shrubs, vines, perennials, bulbs, etc... These are things that may be sensitive to the harsh winter weathers, and many need to be insulated. The best insulation is fir bark, sawdust, bark, tree leaves, gravel and rocks (as I mentioned before, shredded leaves works too). You should apply this to the ground cover after it has been established. On that note, ground cover for regions with cold winters should be planted in the early spring. Mild areas should plant in the fall or winter months.

8. Shrubs
If the rain is scarce where you live, give the shrubs a good dose of water before frost comes. Use wind breaks on the plants that are young or moderately resilient plants. To make a wind break, stake the ground around the shrubs with wood stakes and use a material like burlap to wrap the shrubs. When there is no risk of frost, remove the wind break.

9. Evergreen Maintenance
HowStuffWorks recommends that evergreens get a good dose of water right before Autumn. Well established evergreens wouldn't require water to live through the winter. Evergreen leaves produce moisture all year long, so they are sensitive to cold winds. You could apply 4 inches of mulch around the evergreens to ensure better moisture for the tree and to prevent the soil from freezing. Whack down heavy snowfall that may bend and break the branches.

10. Weeding
I'm sorry if many of you thought you didn't have to worry about this now that Autumn and Winter are fast approaching, but the lawn maintenance that you do now will save you time in the early Spring. Rake the leaves that fall to prevent grass suffocation. Weed your garden now so that the weeds won't be there waiting when the snow melts and your perennials are starting to show. Dispose of any annuals that are not looking as lovely as they once were. Throw them in a compost bin or in the trash. Clean pots that were outdoors and store them in a nice dry place for next year. And make sure you have your winter equipment in the front of your closets!

Good bye hott Summer, and hello Autumn colors and hot coco!

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