How to Prepare Your Garden for Winter - By: Ann Knapp

Description : There are many people out there who think that once the first freeze comes, their gardening job is done for the year; no more weeding, no more digging, no more top soil, no more compost; and no more watering till next season. Well, I am going to let you in on a little secret: They are dead wrong. If you do the proper work in the fall, you will save yourself a lot of work and a lot of frustration in the coming season.

For starters, you can add to your compost, especially with all the leaves everywhere. Now would be a very good time to start a compost pile or add to your existing compost pile. There should be an abundance of dead leaves, flowers, plants, grass clippings, kitchen waste, and annuals. All you need to do is put it all into the compost bin, and you are well on your way to helping your garden significantly next year. It is very important not to compost anything that was diseased. If you compost a plant that was diseased, there is a very good chance that the disease will affect the rest of the compost pile, and ultimately affect your plants in the coming year.

The fall is also a very good time to add mulch into your top soil. Adding mulch to the top soil will help oxygen enter the top soil, help carbon dioxide exit the top soil, and help the top soil retain moisture. Adding mulch to your top soil is a much easier task either before or after your annuals are done doing what they do. Generally, you will probably want to add about three inches of mulch into your top soil for the optimal results.

Weeding, although one the most hated gardening jobs in the world of gardening is also one of the most important jobs involved in gardening. You should continue to weed your garden until the weeds stop growing for the winter. This will give you a tremendous head-start when you start planting next season.

You should keep tabs on any veggies that may still be growing. There are actually a number of veggies that could continue to grow even after the nights (and days) get a little cooler. It is important to be careful, though, when picking your veggies. If they are dead, you can add them to your compost pile. If they are, however, diseased, you need to throw them in the garbage in a plastic garbage bag as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the diseases. When you are done picking your veggies, you should rototill the top soil. This will incorporate the organic waste into the top soil. The top soil should be left rough to prevent the negative effects of top soil erosion.

You should also definitely keep your lawn looking nice. Too many people stop mowing their lawns too early which is not good for the lawn. Not mowing it will enable to mold to grow within the bends of the grass when all kinds of goodies, like snow for example, start to come. You should continue to mow your lawn until it stops growing completely. The perfect height for grass is about three inches high. This way the grass will block the sun from helping little weeds grow, especially crabgrass. The fall is also a great time to fertilize your lawn. This is because the fertilizer will be absorbed by the grass and the top soil, but it will not cause the lawn to grow, since it is too cold for that. This is a good thing, since the lawn is getting fertilizer, but it is not growing like it does in the summer. Therefore, you do not have to mow your lawn, as opposed to in the summer when fertilizer in your lawn will make you mow your lawn even more than usual.

One more thing that you could do I the fall which is good for your landscape in general is prune. The best time to prune is usually during dormancy. Everyone knows that the most dormant time for a plant is after they are done growing and have started to die for the winter. You should make sure that you are pruning properly. Whatever it is you wish to prune, take a few minutes beforehand to speak to a local landscaper or research it on the internet. The last thing you want to do is prune something incorrectly and end up with a bunch of plants, bushes, or whatever that do not grow or blossom properly.

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