Preparing the Garden for Winter

We are all getting ready for winter. Some of us are actually mulching the garden, pruning, preparing the soil for next year, harvesting the last fruits of our gardens and putting them up for eating in the darker days of winter.

Those who do not have gardens are doing the same, either to our homes or our selves. Storm windows are going up before it gets too cold, blankets and warmer clothes are being dug up from the dark recesses of the closets, some contemplation of the changing leaves, what we have done to ourselves over the summer and a sip of red wine (“the sun warmed wine” ‘Poems from the Persian’ somewhere in the 14th century).

This is the time to look at the warm days of summer and think of how we want them to be next year as we look forward to the winter months.  Contemplation has a little more time as our “chores” in the garden wind down.

I am already formulating plans for next year, sketching out training and time, creative endeavors and some extra family time.

For the garden (and the mind):

  • In vegetable garden beds, be sure to remove old plants, as well as any foliage that has fallen on the soil. Do a final weeding, and mulch the bed with straw, grass clippings, or chopped leaves. These mulches can be turned into the soil next spring to help fertilize next year’s crops.
  • In perennial beds, weed and give everything a good layer of mulch. After the ground has frozen, mulch around the crowns of your plants to reduce the chance of frost heaving.
  • Mow the lawn one last time. You can also spread compost over the lawn to get it off to a good start next spring. Spread corn gluten meal if you have problems with crab grass. Also a great way to mulch the lawn with leaves – chop them right in.
  • This is not a bad time to start thinking about new garden beds for next year – work the soil now to save a lot of time in the spring and let it settle.

Think like a gardener in your life – a little preparation, make sure you are feeding yourself mentally as well as physically, take the time to be dormant sometimes but set the groundwork for your next projects.

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