Even though our fall rains were late this year (and thank goodness for them), I was so busy getting other work done that I didn’t have the time to fully prepare the garden. It leaves me a bit overwhelmed. Because I’m sure some of you out there can relate, I thought I’d shared my strategy for getting done what I can, and cutting my losses where necessary. Once the soil is waterlogged, there’s not a whole lot you can do with it. So I figure it’s time to focus on the things I can in fact do. Here’s my list of must do’s for this chilly, wet time of year.
1) Do a roundup of tools left out in the garden, and properly store them for winter. I, of course, left a few things out in the rain. So I’m now drying them out and trying to be better about this in the future!
2) If (when) you find you don’t have enough dry storage, make a plan to change that! Do you need to build a new shed? Make more room in the garage? Get to it!
3) Make a plan for mud! For me, this means laying mulch (Organic Arbor Mulch on Sale Now) in my pathways so that I can actually walk around the garden in the winter (rather than slipping and sliding).
4) Don’t leave the soil bare. To prevent erosion and crazy winter weeds, cover that soil! You can do this with straw, leaves, mulch, even landscape fabric.
5) Try your hand at cover crops. I love a mix of bell beans and cereal grains. Here you can read more about the process.
6) Mulch around perennial plants. This will help protect them from the harsh winter weather, add some nutrition, and prevent weeds from taking over.
7) Start pruning back woody plants. Some plants have pretty specific pruning needs while others love being hacked all the way back – so just do your research.
8) Trim out any diseased plant material. Good garden sanitation is very important with specific plants – including peonies and roses – of which I have many. It’s always an uphill battle in my field.
9) Cover any frost-sensitive plants. I keep looking out the window at our Meyer lemon and making a note to cover it on any especially cold nights in the forecast.
10) Make a plan to extend the season next year! I highly recommend building a simple low tunnel greenhouse to have crops later into the winter.
We’d love to hear your winter gardening plans! Let us know what’s on your list.